Atwood Magazine’s Weekly Roundup: April 5, 2024

Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | April 5, 2024
Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | April 5, 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 Glass Animals, Blondshell, London Grammar, LØLØ, Gizmo Varillas, Paris Paloma, viisi, Ferry Townes, Hope Tala, One Step Closer, Mergui, Sounds of Walker, Snarls, deegie, Lizzie Esau, & Lindsey Lomis!
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Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup



:: “Creatures in Heaven” – Glass Animals ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Smash a Baccarat elephant on the ground and it will irrevocably break into countless tiny shards. You can pick up the pieces and try to fit them back together, but they’ll never be the same as they were before. Call it wear and tear, call it erosion, call it weathering, call it damage; the symptoms show differently in everyone and everything, but the end result is largely the same: You can’t be unscarred. And while crystal figurines are certainly delicate, London’s Glass Animals capture a deeper kind of fragility in their music – the kind that often goes unseen, but not unheard. Not all wounds are visible, and in “Creatures in Heaven,” the band’s first bit of new music in two years’ time, they explore the timeless power of love and the impact of a single moment in your life: How a deep, intimate, meaningful connection, however brief, can forever change you for better or worse.

Three in the morning, making love
Laid on the floor of your apartment
Bird’s eye view of the two of us
Face in make-up and cheap fake blood
What do you think about
when you think about love?
I’m dumbstruck when you’re tender, but
It’s three in the morning, be in the moment
Here in the moment, free in the moment

What do you think about when you think about love?” sings Dave Bayley, his voice warm, worn, and weary as he relives sepia-toned memories from a bittersweet past. “I’m dumbstruck when you’re tender, but it’s three in the morning, be in the moment, here in the moment, free in the moment…” A cinematic analog synthscape steadily grows around him as reckons with the ghosts of old love, replaying special moments and reminiscing on things that could have gone better – ways he could have done better.

It tears through my head, does it haunt you too?
Diamonds in the dark in your old bedroom
You held me like my mother made me just for you
You held me so close that I brokе in two
It tears through my head, does it haunt you too?
Nеver really said that I loved you too
Lucky, lucky you ’cause I’m fortune’s fool
Such small words but they hit so huge

Bayley’s voice aches with increasing veracity as the turmoil within him spills out in a cathartic, impassioned, and emotionally charged chorus. It’s a time-tested, hard-won lesson; only with hindsight can he fully appreciate what (who) he had when he had it (them). “I don’t think I realize just how much I miss you sometimes,” he confesses in a feverish, visceral haze. “We were young and so in love; we were just creatures in heaven.” One might say he’s on the other side of paradise, singing from a place of unbridled guilt, regret, and longing:

I don’t think I realize
Just how much I miss you sometimes
We were young and so in love
We were just creatures in heaven
I don’t think I realize
Just how much I miss you sometimes
For a moment we were just
We were just creatures in heaven

“It’s about a moment in time, be it a split second or a year or whatever, having the capacity to be enormously formative and life-changing,” Bayley tells Atwood Magazine. “Even if it is over. Or if it doesn’t go as planned. Or if it dies too soon. It is still f*ing beautiful. The love and care and the feeling in that moment lives forever. It never really dies. If that’s how you choose to see it.”

In other words, “Creatures in Heaven” is as much a philosophy as it is one heavy heart and fractured soul working through fracture and licking bare, lovesick wounds. Be in the moment, here in the moment, free in the moment. What does it mean to so wholeheartedly (and wholemindedly) exist in this world? Is it aspirational thinking, or a conscious, deliberate switch in perspective?

And when Bayley later sings, “It’s merely a moment, here for a moment, here is the moment, here for a moment,” is that reductionist thinking, a dose of realism injected into his dreamland, or something else entirely?

It’s all so incredibly loud – the emotions rushing back up with relentless, unforgiving intensity, painful and poignant scenes tearing through Bayley’s head, feelings hitting like a tidal wave as that heavy inner tension boils to the surface once more. Such small words but they hit so huge.

It tears through my head, does it haunt you too?
Diamonds in the dark in your old bedroom
You held me like my mother made me just for you
Held me so close that I broke in two
It tears through my head, does it haunt you too?
Never really said that I loved you too
Lucky, lucky you ’cause I’m fortune’s fool
Such small words but they hit so huge
I don’t think I realize
Just how much I miss you sometimes
We were young and so in love
We were just creatures in heaven
I don’t think I realize
Just how much I miss you sometimes
For a moment we were just
We were just creatures in heaven

Released April 3, 2024 via Republic Records, “Creatures in Heaven” is the lead single off Glass Animals’ forthcoming fourth studio album, I Love You So F***ing Much (out July 19th).

The new LP follows the unprecedented (and wholly unexpected) success of 2020’s Dreamland, which sold over 12 million copies worldwide and spawned the #1 hit single “Heat Waves,” which broke innumerable records across the planet and currently sits at just shy of 3 billion streams on Spotify alone.

Yet all that excitement and activity came in the midst of a once-in-a-generation global pandemic. Glass Animals’ four members – school mates and best friends Dave Bayley, Drew MacFarlane (guitar, keys), Edmund Irwin-Singer (bass, keys), and Joe Seaward (drums) – felt a sense of detachment, reckoning with their newfound global stardom and a world in lockdown.

“Life can change dramatically, but sometimes you aren’t able to change as quickly on a personal level,” Bayley explains. “You end up feeling like a spectator. And then you are asked and expected to be a certain type of person, a different person. But…I wasn’t sure how. It confused me to the point of not knowing who I was or if anything was real.”

Bayley describes I Love You So F***ing Much as a set of ten “intimate love stories” set against the backdrop of the universe: “The universe may make us feel overwhelmingly small, but we have this human connection that is far vaster and more mysterious. Love comes in an infinite number of forms and shapes and sizes. It is so complex, and so powerful that even witnessing the tiniest instance of it can change your life forever,” he explains. Ultimately, “human connection and the love between us is much bigger, more important, and more complex than anything else.”

And thus, “Creatures in Heaven” was born. It’s a heartfelt song paying homage to life’s little, big moments; an ode to being in the moment, to being here in the moment, to being free in the moment. Aching from the inside out, Glass Animals have returned with what may very possibly be one of their most fragile – and their most romantic – songs.

I don’t see the point in a subtle romance
Ten tonne heartache sitting on your back
Scared of the crack where the light comes through
I’m only really me when I’m here with you
And it gets into your head like a cosmic zoom
Coat on the door like an old space suit
So long, cowboy, you’re so cool
Cash in hand with a memory of you
I don’t think I realize
Just how much I miss you sometimes
We were young and so in love
We were just creatures in heaven
I don’t think I realize
Just how much I miss you sometimes
For a moment we were just
We were just creatures in heaven



:: “Docket” – Blondshell ft. Bully ::

Emma Rayder, New York

For the past week, I’ve had miniature cartoon versions of Blondshell and Bully on each shoulder, whispering lyrics from their latest banger (song does not do the track justice), “Docket,” in my ears. “Isn’t it wrong / When I’m gone / I look around at the options / I put men on the docket,” runs through my head on repeat as I wash the dishes. I tap my feet to the tune of, “Give me a curse / I caught a bug,” as I sift through my inbox. “He should be with someone who’s more in love,” sung with an emphasis that scratches my brain in all the right places, echoes as I walk, unbothered, through a torrential downpour to grab coffee.

The song brings out the best in each blond, indie rock goddess. Alicia Bognanno’s (Bully) airy vocals complement Sabrina Teitelbaum’s (Blondshell) velvety vocals, creating a song that is downright addictive when paired with lyrics that were born to be belted out. I’ve had to force myself to limit the amount of times per day I play “Docket” out of fear that I will prematurely lose interest. Thankfully, in spite of playing the track fifteen-plus times in the span of two hours while writing my weekly roundup, I’m still in “Docket’s” grip.



:: “House” – London Grammar ::

Christine Buckley, Connecticut

This is my place, my house, my rules.” Hannah Reid’s unmistakable classically-trained voice sounds a warning even as she effortlessly dips into her deep chest voice and rises to her crushingly sweet falsetto. London Grammar is back with “House,” their first new music since 2021’s masterpiece album Californian Soil.

Do you see me? Feel me? Don’t think you do,” she continues over Dot Major’s ominous synths and pop beats, intertwined with Dan Rothman’s gentle acoustic guitar. The versatile trio’s smooth electronica flows through this simple yet elegant first single from their just-announced new album The Greatest Love, which is out sometime this year, according to the band.

Their eerie images of a bee in someone’s eye are only a hint at the grotesque image of a person covered in thousands of bees in the official music video. The song doesn’t resolve into something firm, but leaves us on edge – probably a purposeful choice as we wait with bated breath for the rest of their fourth album.



:: “u & the tin man” – LØLØ ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

The school I’m currently teaching at is hosting its musical production of The Wizard of Oz at the end of the month, and I just grabbed my ticket for it! Given all that, I’m certainly in the mood to check out a song called “u & the tin man,” ripe with Oz-evoking lyrical disses (“[The Tin Man’s] armor’s real, yours is just in your mind” and “He risked it all for a girl with red slippers. You like to drink, do cocaine, and get strippers”) and a music video that imagines how Dorothy & Crew might have fared if the Land of Oz had resembled the Gobi Desert more than what it does in the 1939 film.

Truth be told, though, Oz connections or otherwise, it’s always a pleasure to hear from the great LØLØ. I’ve enjoyed covering her music in the past (most recently when I covered her song “hot girls in hell” last year) and it was awesome to come across another single which, like that last one, shows no mercy to those who show her no love.

“When I moved to LA, I realized I was definitely not in Kansas anymore,” the Toronto native explains. “I eventually met someone who hit me like a tornado, and left just as viciously. The Wizard of Oz has always been my favorite movie growing up, so I thought it would be fun to compare my situation to someone who really didn’t have a heart, like the Tin Man. Except, at least the Tin Man was trying!” Geez. It’s a fierce and clever diss track and, as long as LØLØ continues to exhibit those qualities in her music (and why would that not be the case, exactly?) then when her debut full-length album, falling for robots & wishing i was one, comes out in June, probably even the Wicked Witch will wind up grinning ear-to-ear.



:: “Ojos Nuevos” – Gizmo Varillas ft. Amanda Whiting ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Tender, heartfelt, and aching through and through, Gizmo Varillas’ first song of the year is a painful, yet beautiful one. “And I see life in a different way… I see the world in colour with new eyes,” he sings in Spanish, inviting everyone to join him in his beautiful reckoning-turned-revelry. An enchanting spiritual cleanse, “Ojos Nuevos” es una canción especial, genuina, y brillante que explora lo que significa estar vivo. Varillas dwells in a space of self-discovery and intimate introspection as he embraces his “new eyes” – a new perspective on life, brought about by the worst possible circumstances.

“I wrote ‘Ojos Nuevos‘ two years ago, the day before my dad passed away. He was battling cancer, and I was in Spain by his side during his final weeks,” Varillas explains. “During that time I felt a strong urge to write a song. I felt a sense of urgency, like time was running out. I picked up my guitar and wrote it in just a couple of hours. The next day, I got the dreaded phone call that he was gone.”

The Spanish-born singer/songwriter spills his soul through a gorgeous, poetic lens, employing his native tongue (which he’s done throughout his career, to great effect) for an experience that feels at once mournful and uplifting; together with harpist Amanda Whiting, whose DNA is also all over this track, Varillas delivers a moving, cathartic, and deeply vulnerable performance that conveys one of those deeper truths we each must learn on my own.

I know this firsthand, as I learned it when my mother passed away, also from cancer, in 2017. Y a través de las lágrimas, crecemos; through our tears, we grow.

Me enseñaste a vivir, a querer, a sentir
Y appreciar cada dia,
cada segundo, cada momento
Y veo la vida de otra manera
Sintiendo el viento, se navega
Veo el mundo en color
Oh oh oh, con ojos nuevos
Oh oh oh, con ojos nuevos

“‘Ojos Nuevos’ will always be a special one for me,” Varillas shares. “The title translates to “new eyes,” and the song is about that moment in life when you stop taking things for granted. Seeing my dad’s life slipping away at the age of 60 and not being able to do all those things he had planned to do, became that moment for me. Instead of being consumed by the darkness, my “new eyes” allowed me somehow to see the light. My dad was no longer with me, but I chose to see his presence echoing in nature, in the chirping birds outside his window, in the rolling hills of our hometown, in Cantabria.”

“I was reminded that life is short and we need to live it with intention and a sense of purpose. Since that day, I try to carry myself differently, with grace, thankful for every healthy day I get to spend doing what I love, surrounded by the people I care about. A year or so passed, and I found Amanda Whiting’s music through a friend. The harp has always been one of my favourite sounding instruments and after only hearing a few notes, I knew I wanted her to be a part of this song. She added an eerie and magical touch to the song with her enchanting flamenco-infused riffs.”

Y ahora llevo tu luz y sonrisa,
conmigo en mi dolor
Me acompaña en lo bueno y en lo malo
Y veo la vida de otra manera
Sintiendo el viento, se navega
Veo el mundo en color
Oh oh oh, con ojos nuevos
Oh oh oh, con ojos nuevos

“Ojos Nuevos” is as much a loving tribute to Varillas’ father as it is an outward expression of inner maturity. His translated lyrics highlight the sheer, immortal love at the core of this breathtaking track – one that shines as much on the outside, as it does within:

You taught me to live, to love to feel
And to appreciate every day, every second, every moment
And I see life in a different way
Feeling the wind, one sails
I see the world in colour
Oh oh oh with new eyes
Oh oh oh with new eyes
And now I carry your light
and smile with me in my pain
It accompanies me in the good and the bad
And I see life in a different way
Feeling the wind, one sails
I see the world in colour
Oh oh oh with new eyes
Oh oh oh with new eyes

Gizmo Varillas and Amanda Whiting haven’t just created a warm and wondrous, harp and brass-fueled song – though it is all of these wonderful things; together, they’ve created a rite of passage. Whether or not you’ve experienced horrific loss in your life, we can all tap into the deeper sentiments at the heart of this haunting, emotional release.



:: “LABOUR (the cacophony)” – Paris Paloma ::

Christine Buckley, Connecticut

A year on after Paris Paloma released her spine-chilling “labour” and it went massively TikTok viral, she’s returned with a version that brings those viral moments directly into the track: the song’s chorus as a bed for furious confessionals, women digging in to their trauma at the hands of abusive and toxic men. “All day, every day, therapist, mother, maid, nymph then a virgin, nurse and a servant, just an appendage, live to attend him so that he never lifts a finger.”

About a month ago Paloma invited her fans to record themselves singing the song – “really scream it!” she told them – and they delivered. The new track “LABOUR – the cacophony” includes audio and video from the more than 350 submissions Paloma received from around the world. In its official video, Paloma herself is one of the cell-phone-filmed women, singing in varying levels of calm and rage through the anthem for wronged women and girls everywhere.

Though the up-and-coming artist has only 133K Youtube followers, the collaborative version of the song has amassed nearly 300K views in less than a week. She’s foreshadowed her debut album, Cacophony, which releases Aug. 30 following a North America tour. Also check out her fabulous new song “my mind (now),” reminiscent of Imogen Heap and featured on Elton John’s Rocket hour; and her acoustic version of “labour” live at the Tate Modern museum in London for the Kelly Clarkson show.



:: “i left my hometown“- viisi ::

Chloe Robinson, California

Stepping outside your comfort zone can be a challenge. When embarking on a new journey it can be exciting, yet also very frightening as well. If you do not take those risks though, you will never grow. Alternative artist viisi recently dove headfirst into the unknown and came out the other side that much more fulfilled for it. His single “i left my hometown” details a departure from what was familiar to pursue a lifelong dream. With assertive vocals hitting hard over exhilarating guitar, it is clear he is confident in his decision. viisi’s charisma is infectious. That bold energy makes us feel as if we can take chances as well.

Matthew Borley (viisi) is a veteran in the music world, impressively dropping his first rough cut as a freshman in high school. Now he has fully honed in on his craft, masterfully melding alt-pop, rock and hip-hop. Borley is inspired by unapologetic artists like Eminem, in turn reminding him to take on that same self-assuredness. Through his authentic message he has garnered a large fanbase. He even toured Europe playing to packed crowds. Borley blossomed immensely and that is what “i left my hometown” is all about.



:: “Be Here” – Ferry Townes ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Listening to Ferry Townes’ debut single is like glimpsing at pages ripped from the artist’s diary: She pours her innermost thoughts and feelings into beautifully intimate lyrics and an achingly emotive vocal performance, crafting a vulnerable, delicate experience reminiscent of Norah Jones or early Taylor Swift.

For the first time in a long time, I like where I am,” she confides in a moment of unflinching honesty. “Can we just be, here, without worrying about what’s not here?” Tender, raw, and radiant, “Be Here” is a gentle, sweetly stirring reminder to live in the here and now, and not let life pass you by.

16 felt like yesterday
All the years in between
ran em like a race
I guess it’s just part of that age
dying to been seen
while planning your escape

Released March 15 via the very wonderfully named indie label Licorice Pizza Records, “Be Here” is an enchanting introduction to Ferry Townes, the moniker for Staten Island singer/songwriter Julia Gargano. A former contestant on 2020’s American Idol Season 18 (she finished in the top 7), Gargano captured hearts as a 21-year-old vocalist – at the time, she was still a senior at the College of St. Rose in Albany. Four years later, the now 25-year-old re-emerges as the complete artistic package, donning the name Ferry Townes – which, in itself, is an homage to The Staten Island Ferry.

Her debut is also a reflection on how, especially in our younger years, we can so easily let time slip away as moments big and small pass us by – all because we focus our thoughts on the future, rather than our present.

“To me, it feels like the easiest thing to do in your 20s is to feel like you’re not doing enough,” Gargano tells Atwood Magazine. “I caught myself relying on the future to be the answer to my problems, instead of focusing on what’s good and goin’ in the present. There was no better way to kick off Ferry Townes than with a song that marked such a special moment for me- a reminder to be stand tall, be proud, and ‘Be Here.’”

So 24 is calling for a different tendencies
25 I’d pity time, that God wasted on me
can we just be, here
Without worrying about what’s not here
Can we keep this ‘bout you and me?
Don’t make a future out of fear
Can we just be

Can we just be, here, without worrying about what’s not here?” If I’m being honest, I’ve asked myself the same thing 100, if not 1000 times. We all catch ourselves losing sight of the prize, forgetting who and what really matters in this life. “Be Here” is a reminder to the self, at the end of the day – a wistful, sentimental song of healing, reconnection, and trying to live unapologetically in the now.

“Be Here” is also a fantastic introduction, establishing Ferry Townes as an artist who spills her soul through song.

Crazy to see you 6’3
Talking with drinks in our hands
Digging up memories
Easy to take coincidence
You argue that it’s fate
then write the ending in
I’ve got time, no waiting line so
Meet me when you can
for the first time in a long time
I like where I am

“Every page of lyrics tries to be closure to a tumultuous day, trying to compost the hard shit and turn it into energy, heartbreak into audacity, anxiousness into meditation,” Gargano shares. “Nothing about life right now is normal, and we are all off-roading emotionally and these songs should feel like a 4×4 for listeners.”

With such a moving debut, we can’t wait to hear all that’s to come from Ferry Townes.

Can we just be, here
Without worrying about what’s not here
Can we keep this ‘bout you and me?
Don’t make a future out of fear
Can we just be here?



:: “I Can’t Even Cry” – Hope Tala ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Intimate and unfiltered, Hope Tala’s first single in two years is, at its core, the product of a bruised, broken heart… so why, then, do I feel so light and uplifted every time I listen? Surely I’m not that sadistic?

No, there’s a third word missing in that description of Tala’s heart: It’s bruised, broken, but undeterred. The British singer/songwriter “can’t help but want to be alone” as she bandages invisible emotional wounds, but even at her lowest point in love’s cruel game, she knows that “one day I’ll find my feet.” Love can be a marvel and it can be vicious, it’s true – and on “I Can’t Even Cry,” Hope Tala continues to believe in the beauty and power of love, despite what it’s done to her; despite all the hurt and pain it’s made her feel.

Thought you were the one for me, I did
Thought you were the one that I’d be with
Strolling hand in hand like little kids
Until you turned around and fucked with it
Now I can’t help but wanna be alone
Pack up my bags and walk out the door
Know that I’m about to lose this war
But I can’t remember what I’ve been fighting for

As Tala explains, this song is so much more nuanced and complex (and, quite frankly, interesting!) than your typical, standard heartbreak woe-is-me-type tune.

Though, if I’m being perfect candid, the “woe-is-me” stuff can be particularly powerful when done right. Tala goes beyond that hurt, and that darkness, ultimately finding the light at the end of what is sure to be a long, dark tunnel. She’s not out of it yet, but she’s making her way out of that darkness one step at a time:

Is it love or is it something different?
Voice of caution in my eardrums, but I never listen
Opening my heart ’til the thing is messy
But I’m scared of all the hoping and the wishful thinking
‘Cause love can be a marvel, but it can be viscous
Cut you ’til you’re bleeding without no permission
‘Til tears are in your eyes, love will blur your vision
Blur your vision
But I can’t even cry, cry
So many sleepless nights, nights
I’ve been asking myself why, why
As hard as I try
I’m as cold as ice, petrified
I can’t even cry
I can’t even cry

“When writing ‘I Can’t Even Cry’ I was trying to encapsulate the state of being numb, of being too hurt to feel,” she tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s special to me for a number of reasons, one being that it’s the first song I ever made with my friend Anoop after two false starts attempting to write together when my personal life was a mess. It felt like a gift, our third time lucky trying to make a song together, to find this one within me, a song that ultimately sees beyond numbness toward hope.”

“I think the broader point of ‘I Can’t Even Cry’ is about granting myself the permission to contemplate a future beyond the sorrow that was consuming my life and my spirit during the time in which it was written.”

I know that one day, I’ll find my fate
I’ll be with somebody who loves me
Loves me hard enough to leave me be
Who gives me the time and space to breathe
Been making my peace with what the future holds
Embracing all the things that I don’t know
Everyone I’ll meet and where I’ll go
Remember what I was fighting for

The sun shines its sweet rays down on Hope Tala’s melancholy in “I Can’t Even Cry,” turning her malaise into something slightly sweeter. Even if she can’t crack a smile today, she knows she will soon (enough). A gentle, glistening R&B tune with an infectious beat and gorgeous melodies, this song balances happiness and sadness in near-perfect harmony. You can opt to bounce in the glow of Tala’s buoyant rhythms and seductive, soul-stirring vocals, or you can soak up her emotional distress and all the heartache that’s led up to this moment. Either way, “I Can’t Even Cry” promises to evoke strong reactions as a young artist explores both the pain of love, and her everlasting faith in its limitless possibilities. She “can’t even cry” today, but who knows what tomorrow brings?

Is it love or is it something different?
Voice of caution in my eardrums, but I never listen
Opening my heart ’til the thing is messy
But I’m scared of all the hoping and the wishful thinking
‘Cause love can be a marvel, but it can be viscous
Swear I’ll learnt to feel again, make it my mission
‘Til tears are in my eyes, love will blur my vision
But for now, I can’t even cry…



:: “Leap Years”- One Step Closer ::

James Crowley, New York

After catching rising hardcore outfit One Step Closer on their triple headline tour with Anxious and Koyo, I’ve been doing a deep dive into their back catalogue, and getting ready for their upcoming sophomore record All You Embrace. While the band operates in the hardcore world, there is a fair bit of crossover between pop-punk and nu metal (which should come as no surprise as they share their name with a Linkin Park song).

The Wilkes-Barre band balance vocalist Ryan Savitski’s screamed verses with a hard-hitting melodic chorus. As “Leap Years” swells, it’s hard to not want to scream along to lyrics like “You’ll bring some clarity/When I take myself too seriously” or “Forget your face/And it carried all of me.” As hardcore has found itself gaining more and more popularity since the explosion of Turnstile’s Glow On, One Step Closer show that there’s a way to embrace both the hard-hitting DIY nature that the genre was built on and the catchy direction that it’s going.



:: “Cry” – Mergui ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

Over 20 years ago, Kelly Clarkson was trying to make a name for herself through televised talent contests. It all worked out, as she wound up becoming both American Idol’s inaugural winner and its most all-around successful alum. Two decades and change onwards, a role reversal has occurred; now, Clarkson is the one hosting her own show, and it’s served as a platform for heightened exposure for multiple guest musicians.

Mergui, an Israeli singer now based in Los Angeles, is one artist who managed to profit from this opportunity with his appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show just last week. His last single, “Cry,” expressed just how morose he’s been feeling lately, and now he is back with a new release that questions whether he is “Happy Now?” (now there’s a Yes/No question worth taking a crack at…). Mergui is a brilliant singer whose voice manages to deepen the pain of the situation that the lyrics evoke. “It’s a song about seeing your ex with someone new for the first time,”  Mergui explains, “and genuinely wanting them to be happy but also feeling hurt and wishing you could move on too.” Not a bad pick for a song to perform in front of the author of “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” perhaps.

Along with some production help from his countryman K-KOV– who, like Mergui, traveled all the way from Israel to Los Angeles to pursue his music career– as well as Black Eyed Peas collaborator Varo–  “Happy Now?” transforms into a moving piano/guitar number that’s sure to tug at plenty of heart strings. More of that to come when the accompanying EP, Shadows of Blue, drops next month. You’ve got some fine tastes, Kelly!



:: “Don’t Want More” – Sounds of Walker ::

Chloe Robinson, California

Sometimes it can be vital to take stock of your worth. It is important for your own wellbeing to stand up for what you want and shout it loud. Sounds of Walker’s new single “Don’t Want More” is a bold, cathartic cry. He fiercely proclaims, “Don’t come around here anymore. There’s nothing left and I don’t want more.” That display of strength is a daring declaration we can all take inspiration from. His warm, raspy vocals float atop synth-infused sonics creating a piece that is pure captivation. The video’s kaleidoscopic imagery pairs nicely with Sounds of Walker’s wistful air.

The Los Angeles based artist delivers a delightful synth-pop sound that is so rich. His music transports us to another time and place. This release is a follow up to his debut single “KO” which received much praise. Both tracks exhibit a riveting radiance that is deeply addicting. Once you have listened to his music, you will want to hear it again and again. After playing “Don’t Want More”, it will have you saying… I definitely want more.



:: “Baby Bangs” – snarls ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Brutally honest and unapologetically hard-hitting, snarls’ latest single is a visceral, honest, and exposed fever dream: A cathartic upheaval of soul-stirring alternative churn, “Baby Bangs” aches from the inside out as the Columbus, Ohio trio shine a light on a heavy, inescapable weight within.

Lyrically, sonically, and emotionally, this song is the musical equivalent of holding a mirror up to oneself; it’s the cruel light of day, penetrating the thoughts we bury deep down inside, hoping no one (including ourselves) ever digs hard enough to find them. “I want to cut my hair, my bangs are way overgrown, and I’m so scared that you’ll leave me for someone more beautiful,” vocalist/guitarist Chlo White sings, her voice a commanding beacon of angst and unrelenting inner pain. “Here I am in my solitude,” she continues. “It’s hard to understand what I care about, what I look like, and who I am…” So begins a hushed, haunting, and uncompromising alt-rock confessional. Bandmates Riley Hall (bassist/vocalist) and Mick Martinez (guitarist/vocalist) join in the reckoning, and together as one, the trio explode in breathtaking, shiver-inducing fury.

Released “March 27, 2024 via Take This To Heart Records, “Baby Bangs” is the third single taken off snarls’ forthcoming sophomore album, With Love, produced by Chris Walla and out May 3rd. Following the band’s recent songs “Big Fish” and “Heavy Drinker,” “Baby Bangs” finds the Midwestern group in their element and at their most introspective, melancholic, and brooding. It’s a musical amalgamation of ’90s alternative and shoegaze, with elements of indie rock and pop/rock sprinkled on top: snarls hold nothing back in bringing their scars to life in song.

“We wrote this record during a time of serious introspection for the whole group, and it covers all kinds of topics from love to loss, confidence to self-loathing, all the various ups and downs we’ve gone through in such a transformative period of time,” the band explains.

Adding to that, Chlo White tells Atwood Magazine, “We spent countless hours together writing these songs, so I think the biggest source of inspiration for them was each other. There were many other inspirations, such as past lovers, interactions with strangers, and having morning coffee with my mother, but snarls was together twice a week for nearly a year straight while writing this record. When you put it that way, how could our love for one another not seep into the music?”

There’s a special kind of vulnerability that best friends share with one another, that you don’t see in more casual, less intimate relationships. We’ve experienced it with other musical groups in recent years – boygenius and MUNA come to mind – and snarls can surely be added to that list. Something beautiful happens when musicians share that kind of ultra-intimate connection: They make music not just from the heart, but music from the soul. Stay tuned for more to come from the Columbus alternative trio as they ramp up to the release of With Love, an impassioned rock record that owns every bit of its name.



:: “Go Be With Becca (Zach)” – deegie ::

Grace Holtzclaw, Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles based pop-punk artist deegie returns with a fury-fueled track that bites back against an ex-boyfriend who cheated and begged to get back together. “Go Be With Becca (Zach)” is bursting with high-strung riffs, razor-sharp percussion, and siren-esque vocals cut straight from the corners of heartbreak. deegie roars, “The pity party’s over / Our relationship is dead.” With intense lyrics that forge the depths of her emotions, “Go Be With Becca (Zach)” is a colossal heavy-hitter that strikes a visceral chord in each listener.

“Go Be With Becca (Zach)” is the fifth single from deegie’s highly anticipated upcoming EP EXES. The project features songs written for deegie’s various exes that run through the different arcs behind each breakup. “Go Be With Becca (Zach)” is deegie’s latest release.



:: “Wait Too Late” – Lizzie Esau ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Urgent and angry, kinetic and charged, UK singer/songwriter Lizzie Esau’s latest single demands our undivided attention as she calls us to attention – and to action. “Far, cry, war, rage, we fear, in pain, and take, no blame,” the Newcastle upon Tyne native declares in “Wait Too Late,” her voice white-hot on the mic. “Is this what you want wait ‘til it’s too late to make a change?” Unsatisfied with the complacency she sees around her (and within), Esau provokes us to be the change we want to see in this world in an impassioned, dramatic, dynamic, and all-consuming eruption. It’s a stirring release, and one that ensures we take notice – both of Lizzie Esau, and of the world burning all around us.

“Sometimes, I really hate what we’re doing to the planet,” Esau tells Atwood Magazine. “I go from feeling totally helpless to enraged to depressed about it all, and I feel like the only way I can make my feelings known is to write about them. I’m 24 and I feel like there are so many decisions that are being made for us and for our future that are out of our control. I think the older I get, the more I’ll find my voice and want to stand up for what I believe in.”

It’s a noble goal, and one Esau fully embodies in her music. She cites The Stone Roses’ “Fools Gold” as a major inspiration. “I found the beat of it and the strong tambourine so infectious,” she explains. The similarities between “Wait Too Late” and its indie rock progenitors are apparent in the strength of the backing instrumental and the raw emotion embedded deep in Esau’s lyrics. She’s unapologetic and fearless as she sings:

Venom on your tongue just like the devil in your mind you like to shake
Playing it out just like the pictures and the movies and the games
We gather round to hear inevitable news before it breaks
Far, cry, war, rage, we fear, in pain, and take, no blame
Is this what you want wait till it’s too late to make a change
There’s quiet in suburbia they’re killing up a town behind a screen
They want the money and the power grab a new car and world peace
They say it’s so unlikely change will come that I will see
You know I got to keep me happy fuck the future cage the free
Far, cry, war, rage, we fear, in pain, and take, no blame
Is this what you want wait till it’s too late to make a change

“For me it’s a powerful, emotive and very political song,” Esau shares. “It speaks about what is happening in the world right now – the lyrics ‘far, cry, war, rage, we fear, in pain, and take, no blame’ referring to how we sit back and watch the tragedies around the world unfold and it feels like we’re powerless and useless to make a change. The repetitive chorus part “make a change, make a change”is almost a mantra-like call to action, speaking to myself as much as anyone else.”

Esau recalls the feverish emotions coursing through her as she wrote the song’s visceral third verse. “‘We’re killing off the wildlife and we’re emptying the seas, to fill them with bodies who longed for shores they’d never reach.’ I remember writing it and feeling as though I’d finally found a way to capture some of my biggest frustrations about the world,” she says. “How we normalise one tragedy of destroying the planet daily and villainize those fleeing from persecution, rather than seeing them as the victims.”

Released April 3, 2024 via Yin Yang Media UK, “Wait Too Late” is Lizzie Esau’s second single of the year following January’s “Impossible + Strange,” which Atwood Magazine praised as a “spirited, emotionally charged indie rock firestorm that aches from the inside out” and a “raucous return from one of North East England’s most exhilarating singer/songwriters.” She considers this song her biggest and boldest release to date, and it’s safe to say we’ll be living with this one – and the refrain, “far, cry, war, rage, fear pain, take blame” – for a long, long time.

Listen up and listen well to Lizzie Esau’s searing, cinematic scorcher.

They’re climbing up the walls
and they’re dying in the streets

We’re killing off the wildlife
and we’re emptying the seas

To fill them with bodies who longed
for shores they’d never reach

And no accountability it’s just not adding up to me
Far, cry, war, rage, fear, in pain, and take, no blame…
And everything stays the same…
Far (far) cry (cry) war (war) rage (rage)
we fear (fear) in pain (pain)
and take (take) no blame (blame)



:: “Stalker” – Lindsey Lomis ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Yes, it’s a song about emotions consuming us so much that they’re like our very own stalkers – but beyond its very colorful metaphor, the first thing I noticed about Lindsey Lomis’ song was its sheer, unrelenting bounce.

A standout off the 21-year-old artist’s recently released EP Handle With Care, “Stalker” hits with radiant, glistening vocals and a tight, driving beat that pulses relentlessly from start to finish. It’s a spirited alt-pop enchantment full of exhilarating spunk and dynamic energy.

“‘Stalker’ is about a feeling that you can’t escape,” Lomis explains. “A feeling that follows you around everywhere you go. For some people that’s anxiety, depression, insecurity, missing your ex. It’s such a constant burden that it’s almost like it’s stalking you.”

Something’s watching while I’m sleeping
Peeking through my window
Everywhere I go I know I’ll
Catch it in my peripheral
I swear I’ve got an intruder
Can’t seem to get rid of it
Running away is useless
When the truth is
The feeling’s like a stalker, stalker
Following my every move
I know it’s always watching
Watching me no matter what i do

True to its name, “Stalker” has a way of becoming a stalker in its own right as Lomis’ catchy refrain gets caught on repeat. It’s a fun, sweet song, and one that ensures we keep listening to Lindsey Lomis as her star continues to rise.

Handle With Care is the full perspective of who I am now,” she says of her fifth EP in six years’ time. “I really pinpointed a sound that is so individual, but at the same time is made up from so many different genres and inspirations. It really expresses a sound that I’ve been trying to nail for a decade at this point. It’s just so me, 100% through and through.”

Clearly, there has never been a better time to become a Lindsey Lomis fan. From opener “Long Way Down” to closer “sick” – and songs like “Outta Sight (On My Mind)” and of course, “Stalker,” in between – Handle With Care is an impressive collection of propulsive pop ready to uplift, enchant, enthrall, and inspire.



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