Atwood Magazine’s Weekly Roundup: May 3, 2024

Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | May 3, 2024
Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | May 3, 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 St. Vincent, Medium Build, Why Bonnie, Hippo Campus, Caroline Polachek, Sabrina Carpenter, EJ Imho, Hockey Dad, Orlando Weeks, Casii Stephan, Quiet Canyons, Dalia, Fiona-Lee, Low Hum, Glixen, & Babe Rainbow!
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Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup




:: All Born Screaming – St. Vincent ::

Christine Buckley, Connecticut

St. Vincent’s seventh studio album All Born Screaming is my first contender for album of the year. When “Broken Man” came out a few months ago I looped it for a week, yelling “what are you looking at?!” and striking manic poses every time that serious synth/guitar chord dropped. Upon listening to the album’s opening track, I knew we were in good hands again: “Hell Is Near” is a swingy, eerie ballad and so different from “Broken Man,” “Flea,” and “Big Time Nothing,” the album’s three singles, confirming that Ms. Shapeshifter herself was back.

“Violent Times,” “The Power’s Out,” and “The Sweetest Fruits” are all standouts, dropping in that powerful synth-guitar sound here and there to remind us that it’s Annie Clark’s world and we’re just living in it. And the final eponymous track, with guest Cate LeBon, builds up so much tension that when it finally drops you feel like you’ve just been whirled back to the dubstep years:

I have climbed into open arms
They turned into a straitjacket
Stolen hearts I didn’t need, but
Man, I always paid for them
I was a pantomime of a modern girl
Those were the days, and I was miserable
A karaokе version of Leonard’s “Hallelujah”
My wholе damn life, I had never exhaled
Oh well

This album had me at hello but has gotten more nuanced and just so much better with each listen. It’s officially my first contender for album of the year.



:: “Big Time Nothing” – St. Vincent ::

Liv Goodbody, Brighton, UK

Bouncy, electric, striking, St. Vincent’s new single “Big Time Nothing” delivers exactly what a pre-release should prior to the drop of a new album. In my eyes, “Big Time Nothing” is the most exciting track of the album (All Born Screaming), praise St. Vincent earns through her commanding spoken lyrics, dynamic guitar solos and woozy grooving. A powerful bass line and fervent synths curl around soulful backing-vocals to create an exhilarating funk-rock performance. Discussing the intensity of her new album, St. Vincent candidly shares that she had no intention of wasting time “with trifling shit”; a mindset which explains the hypnotic fervour of ‘Big Time Nothing’.

The fact that this is the artists’ first self-produced record after releasing six albums is incredibly compelling. The album promises to be the most personal contribution to her discography and boasts ten tracks soaked in personality – documenting a creativity let loose. St. Vincent refers to the album as “post-plague pop”; its tracks being constructed under themes of darkness and anxiety. However, the level of introspection this artist has implemented into her work creates a brutally beautiful reality, showcased by the alternative dance-rock LP.

St. Vincent’s impact on the modern music scene is undeniable and her new album All Born Screaming, released April 26 2024, proves to be a worthy successor to her previous work, which has already earnt her three Grammy Awards. She remains an artist who deserves to be on every music-buff’s radar, and “Big Time Nothing” has personally become an instant St. Vincent classic.



:: “Stick Around” – Medium Build ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Oh my little Adeline… Oh my little Adeline.” I’ll be singing these sweet, simple, life-affirming lines on repeat all spring and summer long, and I hope they’re still as catchy come September as they are to me right now. The spirited final track off Medium Build’s recently released major label debut Country, “Stick Around” sends us off, back into the world not with a whisper, but with a triumphant, celebratory shout.

All the cars have names like spaceships
Like they could take you far away
But the only place I’ve been in this old rig
is up and down the interstate

I been goin round the clock like a box fan
But nobody knows my name
And baby I’m tired, so tired

When you showed I was building myself
a coffin tryna go to sleep

Hanging every night at the same damn place
Where the drinks are strong and cheap
Something bout the way you didn’t need no one
It shook something out of me
I said hi you said hi

After wrestling with ideas of home, identity, purpose, and place all record long, singer/songwriter Nick Carpenter (the man behind the Build) resolves to keep truckin’ – to hold his head high and keep on moving forward and grooving the best he can, no matter what the world throws his way. “I gotta thank you for giving me a thousand reasons to stick around,” he sings atop a smorgasbord of hot, smoldering horns, his voice an irresistible ray of sunlight and soul-soaked passion. “Baby, I beg you, don’t let this love get cold, baby, stick it out. Stick around.”

Now I gotta thank you
For giving me a thousand reasons
To stick around, stick around
Baby, I beg you
Don’t let this love get cold, baby
Stick it out, stick around

“I hope people take a second to think about the loved ones that gave them reasons to stay alive,” Carpenter says of this song. “Sometimes it’s someone you may not even be with anymore, but for a brief moment your life intersected and their little life changed your DNA and convinced you to keep going for a while.”

The premise of this song is unapologetically simple: It’s a big, sweaty thank you to the people who make a difference in our lives; who make life worth living. Medium Build turns his inner reckoning into the sweetest release: An uplifting, impassioned, and inspiring reverie – the kind of emotionally charged daydream that reminds us that, for all the lows, aches, pains, setbacks, and slowdowns, this highway is one worth taking ’til its end. “Baby, it came true! All the little things that I wished for that I never said out loud,” Medium Build sings in the second verse, allowing himself a moment of joy, letting the light in and recognizing all the things he would have lost, missed out on, and never experience.

So yes, it’s a thank you to those who made his being here today possible, but most importantly, “Stick Around” is – true to its name – a song about the importance of sticking around. And it’s as catchy and cathartic as it is unrelentingly life-affirming, smile-inducing, and altogether intoxicating.

If getting f**ed up was an airplane
I’d be a double million miler
‘Cause I’ve been hiding myself for so long
When you told me I didn’t have to be someone
Well I cried like a homesick child
‘Cause I’m so in love and I’m so damn tired
I gotta thank you
For giving me a thousand reasons
to stick around, s
tick around
Baby, it came true
All the little things that I wished for
that I never said out loud

Outta my mouth
Oh my little Adeline
Oh my little Adeline
Oh my little Adeline
Oh my little Adeline



:: “Dotted Line” – Why Bonnie ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

It’s a regret we’ve all had at some point along the way: “I should’ve known better than to sign on the dotted line.” The promise of an easy win is almost always too good to be true, and whether you’re selling away your rights or your souls, the reward isn’t worth the price you pay. Of course, Why Bonnie’s Blair Howerton keeps the “deal” in question fittingly vague, but there’s no mistaking the angst, the inner turmoil, or the sheer passion in the band’s visceral new single: A rush of raw energy and emotion come to life in “Dotted Line” as Why Bonnie capture the unyielding weight of capitalism with dreamy indie rock charm and churn.

Give me something to believe
Give me something I can’t reach
Won’t take too much of your time
Three easy steps to rewire your mind
Sell me freedom, give me gold
Tell me that I will never grow old
All you dream of could be all yours
Cut your hand and I’ll find the cure

Released May 2nd, 2024 via Fire Talk Records (their first new offering since parting ways with Keeled Scales last year), “Dotted Line” is a catchy, spirited eruption from turbulent depths – and an instantly enchanting, heartwarming reintroduction to New York City’s Why Bonnie, whose debut album 90 in November was one of 2022’s instant standouts.

“The New York by-way-of Texas indie rock band teach us how dark and light, heavy and soft, Texan and Brooklyn can, in fact, be one,” we wrote in our artist feature at the time. “Chaos and calm coalesce on 90 in November, an intensely intimate and visceral journey through memories and moments: The spaces and places, past and present, that define our identities and determine the course of our ephemeral and often unstable existence.”

Following last January’s standalone single (and Atwood Editor’s Pick) “Apple Tree” and September’s self-released Audiotree Live EP, “Dotted Line” is a smoldering single whose sweet hook, soaring guitar work, and sweltering emotions coalesce into one dazzling, dynamic reverie. Howerton and co rise to a fever pitch as she dwells in a space of nostalgia and regret:

It’s easy as one-two-three
If you just put your faith in me
Let all your problems melt away
Good days ahead after you pay
I should’ve (I should’ve)
Known better (Known better)
Turns out it was a liе
I should’ve (I should’ve)
Known bettеr (Known better)
Than to sign on the dotted line
I should’ve known better

As the bandleader explains, this song came from a time when she was “broke as hell” and spiraling. “I was thinking of all the things we’re told are markers of success, and how at this rate, I’ll probably never have any of them,” Howerton tells Atwood Magazine. “I wanted to poke fun at all the ways we buy into capitalist promises in hopes that we’ll be made cooler, hotter, younger, etc.”

Howerton calls “Dotted Line” a rallying cry – an unapologetic middle finger to the powers that be, who turn the wheel without a care for who’s in it (or under it), as long as they get their return on investment. Would it be reading too much into the song to consider its release coincides with Why Bonnie’s new label signing? Perhaps; perhaps not. The music industry is rife with stories of labels big and small screwing over their artists, and for every success story – someone who “got out” – there are dozens of folks whose great, unheard, unreleased music lies dying on a shelf, or in some subfolder on a USB somewhere. “Dotted Line” is vague enough to be about that scenario, or to be about literally any time some great Goliath has tried to squash a David.

Give me something I can feel
Give me something to make it real
Won’t take too much of your time
Three easy steps to rewire your mind
It’s easy as one-two-three
If you just put your faith in me
Let all your problems melt away
Good days ahead after you pay

The temptation to sign on the dotted line will forever be immense and intense – it’s the promise of salvation, after all; but as Why Bonnie explicitly spell out in this song, promises are just words – and actions will always speak louder. Or as Howerton seductively implores, “Give me something I can feel. Give me something to make it real.”

Beware of snake oil salesmen, but do buy into Why Bonnie. They’re one band we can always trust to deliver everything we could possibly want, and more.

I should’ve (I should’ve)
Known better (Known better)
Turns out it was a lie
I should’ve (I should’ve)
Known better (Known better)
Than to sign on the dotted line



:: “Everything at Once” – Hippo Campus ::

Rachel Leong, France

Hippo Campus has returned with new single, “Everything at Once,” marking a new era for the indie-rock band. Meditative guitar lines take center stage as the track opens, with vocals and layered guitars soon swooping in to create a collision of sounds that just hit that sonic satisfaction. Frontman Jake Luppen’s vocals gleam over the track’s instrumental musings, sliding seamlessly over the soundscape of “Everything at Once.” Classic of Hippo Campus, the new track holds a polished DIY sound that reverberates with clarity.

On the track, the band states, “Everything at Once” is a “meditation, a focus on breath in the midst of breathless moments. You’ve been running away for too long; you need to ace what you’re running from if you’re ever going to beat it. Slow down, breathe deep, put a name to the things you fear. Be patient, surrender your forced perspective, and feel everything at once.”

Ahead of their May 6th show at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater, the release comes shortly after the announcement of various summer festival gigs for the band.



:: “Starburned and Unkissed” – Caroline Polachek ::

Dimitra Gurduiala, Italy

What better way to start any Thursday than listening to a new song by Caroline Polachek? The Everasking Edition of her magnificent album Desire, I Want To Turn Into You has been recently released, but this fascinating muse’s music is really never enough. And here is “Starburned and Unkissed,” part of the soundtrack to Jane Schoenbrun’s upcoming movie “I Saw the TV Glow.” A soundtrack that sounds quite interesting, since so far it includes “Riding Around in the Dark” by Florist and yeule’s cover of “Anthems for a Seventeen-Year Old Girl” by Broken Social Scene. “Starburned and Unkissed,” co-produced by A.G. Cook, has been described as a prominent piece in the film, has a dreamy but somewhat dark vibe, with a powerful guitar that never hurts. If this is the premise, I can already say that I can’t wait for this film to come out.

Come home
Thе kettle’s whistling
My heart’s a ghost limb rеaching
Starburned and unkissed
Sunkissed, the girls exist in cold
Just as they are to you
Baby, say the word and you get bored
Don’t let them in for you



:: “Espresso” – Sabrina Carpenter ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

Sabrina Carpenter’s new single “Espresso” has been popping up on my Spotify Recommended playlist a lot lately, and Boy. Is. It. Catccheeeee!!! I suppose that’s the idea for a song named after an addictive early morning drink, but Ms. Carpenter has exceeded my expectations with this one. She’s got a candidate for Song of the Spring with this one, and has demonstrated that Olivia Rodrigo is far from the only Disney Channel alum turned young solo star worth keeping an eye on. Is that sweet? I guess so. Is that seriously awesome? I know so!



:: “Don’t Forget Me” – EJ Imho ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

It’s safe to say we won’t be forgetting EJ Imho anytime soon – and he wouldn’t have it any other way. The East London-based artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer creates a smoldering, soul-stirring environment in his new single “Don’t Forget Me,” an achingly vulnerable apology yearning for reunion and reconnection. Smoky drums and reverb-soaked guitars create an intimate, ambient environment for Imho to come clean and spill his heart, his tender voice hot and heavy on the mic.

maybe we’ll talk it out
all the things we fought about
can’t seem to drown you out
can’t we just work it out?
just so you don’t forget me
so you don’t forget me

“This song is inspired by missed opportunities and regrets, and reflects a heartfelt plea for forgiveness after a brief encounter, hoping to fix what’s been unintentionally broken,” Imho tells Atwood Magazine. Pulling inspiration from artists like Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote, and Louis Cole, Imho crafts a seductive alternative R&B love letter filled with pain, passion, and irresistible music. He leaves space for his words and the heavy bass to breathe, and the resulting experience is as moving and intense as it is undeniably successful in its mission.



:: “Safety Pin” – Hockey Dad ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Beachy bliss marries intimate connection and longing in Hockey Dad’s second song of the year as the Aussie surf-rock band dwell in a space of emotional tension and inner churn. We are all prone to wear and tear, and sometimes we need a friend to pull us back up when we fall too hard; we need a “Safety Pin,” and in just over two minutes, Hockey Dad evoke both the weight and the warmth of that responsibility.

Looks like I’m running late again,
racing through the cover laid ahead.
Weight keeps packing on
and I’m getting short of breath.
I guess the fall was at the end.
Be my safety pin,
click the latchet in.
When I fall to bits,
you hold my contents in.
Hold.

Released April 22, 2024 via Farmer & The Owl / BMG Australia, “Safety Pin” is the third single off Hockey Dad’s forthcoming fourth LP Rebuild, Repeat, out June 14. Following previous singles “Base Camp” and “Still Have Room,” the spirited “Safety Pin” is a cathartic and concise eruption from the band’s innermost depths.

“‘Safety Pin’ started off initially with just a drumbeat and the title. It quickly picked up speed with the tempo as we were writing it and it got super exciting,” says Zach Stephenson, who fronts Hockey Dad together with his childhood best friend Billy Fleming. “My favourite part of the track is the backing vocals in the second chorus. Super fun to record and I can’t wait to play this song live. The lyrics refer to your ride or die. The person you can count on when you need someone to listen to you rant, explode or breakdown. Someone who without even asking, knows exactly what to say to calm you down and keep you together in crazy situations.”

There’s a radiance to “Safety Pin” that keeps it shining the whole way through: Despite the darkness from which they sing, Hockey Dad glow with unrelenting light as they deliver a heartfelt ode to those who are there for us at our worst. Tight, tender, and utterly uplifting, “Safety Pin” is as catchy as it is cleansing – the perfect combination to keep us hooked in as we lead up to Rebuild, Repeat‘s impending release.

Blindfolded running at the wall,
charging at me faster than before.
Ringing in my ears and a new incoming call.
Head down doing what I’m told.
Be my safety pin,
click the latchet in.
When I fall to bits,
you hold my contents in.
Hold.



:: “Dig” – Orlando Weeks (ft. Rhian Teasdale) ::

Hamish Monk, Essex, England

This is a subtle, slow-burner from ex-Maccabees frontman, Orlando Weeks. The instrumentation is reminiscent of an early Tame Impala, with its dampened drums, fuzzy bass, and looping keys. Weeks’ vocal delivery is characteristically close to the mic, restrained. The choice of handing a feature to Wet Leg’s frontwoman, Rhian Teasdale, is a clever one, too. Her verse holds the momentum of the track as it builds to a psychedelic and washed out middle eight that will appease any Maccabees fan. “Dig” is a great song and the video must not to be missed.



:: “Wine & Gold”- Casii Stephan ::

Chloe Robinson, California

There is that deep kind of love… The kind that is so explosive and passionate you just want to shout it to the rooftops. Casii Stephan’s “Wine & Gold” details that type of wild romance we all dream about. With punchy powerhouse vocals soaring over funk-induced soundscapes the fierce piece is wholly infectious. The song’s energy is indicative of Duffy’s “Mercy.”

Stephan shares, “Welcome to being completely obsessed and consumed by love. This is the kind of love that grabs you off of the bar stool you were sitting on and dances with you until your feet start bleeding. It feels good, but also your friends have questions. I do hope this song makes you smile, dance, and have fun.”

The artist crafts a unique style melding indie-pop and soul-rock. Each of her releases emits an overflow of emotion and conviction. It is hard to believe she used to be a shy girl scared of her own voice until she began writing songs at 16. Now she puts out music that makes a bold statement with a ton of vulnerability and heart. “Wine & Gold” has that same daring soul.



:: “Chairs” – Quiet Canyons ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

We really are our own worst enemies: No one knows us better or can break us down faster than our own minds. But it doesn’t have to be that way. “I hope you listen to your soul when it comes home; I hope you listen to the bells,” Quiet Canyons’ Tim Williams sings in “Chairs,” his aching voice full of empathy, love, and kindness. “Sometimes life feels much shorter the further we continue. Don’t burn the wood of your own chair.” It’s a heartfelt message of self-love, hope, and healing, and one that we all so desperately need to hear right now – because quite frankly, he’s right: Life doesn’t get any easier, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still full of light.

Soft, sweet, and soul-stirring, “Chairs” reminds us to be kind to ourselves, to be open to the world, and to try to see the warmth and wonder all around us – even when it’s shrouded in dark clouds, because it’s still there.

I’m always looking for the windows.
Take a look outside, try to compromise with my brain
I think that better days are ahead now
Then in comes the rain, smog will rise again
I hope you listen to your soul when it comes home
I hope you listen to the bells
Sometimes life feels much shorter the further we continue
Don’t burn the wood of your own chair.

Released May 3rd, 2024 via Brooklyn-based indie label Trash Casual records, Chairs is the captivating second full-length album from Quiet Canyons, the solo project from Soft Swells’ singer/songwriter Tim Williams. Billed as an album centered around the idea that we all need to be supported, “even if we work to destroy the framework that does so,” Chairs is a gentle giant of comforting and cathartic folk sound: A record that soothes, stirs, and inspires through heart-on-sleeve lyricism, glistening acoustic guitar work, and moving, emotive vocals.

And it all starts with a titular thesis – a mission statement whose spirit sets the tone for the whole record. “This song is a letter to our internal editor giving us the reminder to not self-sabotage ourselves into thinking that the innocence and excitement for life that we once had is all but gone,” Williams says of “Chairs. “With everything going on in the world and the amount of bad news thrown our way, it can become a huge personal burden that feels impossible to shake.”

I see white blankets all around you
A fresh start every day, focal points in frame
And I hope that pictures sharp, and its vivid
A reflection of your day, not blown out in any way
I hope you listen to your soul when it comes home
I hope you listen to the bells
Sometimes life feels much shorter the further we continue
Don’t burn the wood of your own chair.

“Chairs” is tender, visceral, and vulnerable: A poignant reassurance from the artist’s own raw depths that sends shivers shooting down the spine, wrapping our ears in a blanket of warm acoustic grace. It’s a powerful start to Quiet Canyons’ sophomore album, and even more importantly, a timeless message we could all benefit from, before we light a fire that we can’t put out. Just remember: Don’t burn the wood of your own chair.

I hope you listen to your soul when it comes home
I hope you listen to the bells
Sometimes life feels much shorter the further we continue
Don’t burn the wood of your own chair.



:: “TO THE BONE” – Dalia ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Dig into me; heard on the grapevine your shovel was cheap,” DALIA sings in her new single, her delicate voice intense and immediate, like a whisper breathed right into our ears. “Open me up like the book at the back of the shelf you’d forgotten about.” Hot on the mic, her up-close and personal performance sends shivers down the spine as raw pain is channeled into breathtaking, beautiful musical fragility.

Such is the feeling when someone hurts us “TO THE BONE,” a visceral phrase that just scratches the surface of all the aching and turmoil Dalia feels deep down inside.

I fit in with all of your dirty laundry
You sure have a knack for wasting all the good things
And I sure have a knack for falling in love
with people that wreck me
Am I expendable before I am flesh & blood?
Am I somber when you cut me down to the bone?

Independently released April 25, 2024 via “TO THE BONE” is DALIA’s second song of the year (following March’s “nineteen”) and her sixth career song release since she first debuted last May. The alt-pop project of Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts alumna and London-based singer/songwriter Dalia Van Bergen, DALIA has steadily introduced herself as a force of reckoning and raw emotion through catchy, cathartic songs that hit hard and leave a lasting mark – on our ears and on our hearts. Nowhere does this truth resonate more profoundly than on her latest offering, which came about in the wake of a romantic partner’s cheating – committing the ultimate betrayal.

Stomach in knots
On your skin i picked up on someone’s
pheromones
Gut wrenching
For a thing like betrayal to come served cold
On your confidants dish

“In ‘TO THE BONE,’ I explore the aftermath of betrayal, grappling with a mix of emotions after discovering I was cheated on. It’s a rollercoaster of anger, sadness, and heartache as I try to make sense of it all,” DALIA tells Atwood Magazine. “It felt like the universe was testing me, tempting me to revert to old habits of self-sabotage and insecurity. In the chorus, I find myself wrestling with questions of self-worth, which I think was my brain’s default reaction to the betrayal.”

“As the song comes to a close, I declare in Spanish, ‘I’ll learn how to swim in any oceans you try to drown me in.’ Rather than allowing the betrayal to consume me, I chose to rise above it.”

I fit in with all of your dirty laundry
You sure have a knack for wasting all the good things
And I sure have a knack for falling in love
with people that wreck me
Am I expendable before I am flesh & blood?
Am I somber when you cut me down to the bone?

When faced with that sink-or-swim moment, DALIA chooses to swim; as hard as this is and as much as it hurts, she won’t let herself be upended by someone who clearly isn’t worth the tears. And while saying it and internalizing it are two very different things, “TO THE BONE” succeeds at being an emotional release on two levels: She spills her soul while simultaneously letting go.

And in the song’s final minute, DALIA’s heartbroken lament transforms into a spirited, soaring anthem of passion and empowerment.

Yo aprenderé a nadar en cualquier mar en el que intentes
Yo aprenderé a nadar en cualquier mar en el que intentes
Sink me in dirty water
Fill me to the brim with cobalt
Sink me in dirty water
Sink me in dirty water
Fill me to the brim with cobalt
Sink me in dirty water



:: “Mother” – Fiona-Lee ::

Christine Buckley, Connecticut

When U.K. singer-songwriter Fiona-Lee says she’s “writing songs to avoid confrontation,” there’s a part of you that bizarrely hopes she stays conflict-averse, because if her debut song, “Mother,” signals what’s to come, then wow. We need to keep this girl anxious.

Seriously, though, the Yorkshire native’s music, which falls somewhere in the Venn diagram of folk, rock and pop, blends her lilting, emotional Florence Welch-like vocals with her electric-guitar fingerpicking, a hallmark of her solo live shows. This track has a sense of impending dread that rises into a rhythm-driven, head-nodding rock crescendo reminiscent of her countryman Sam Fender.

The lyrics chronicle her tragic first experience in the music industry – one that she notes is far too common for women.

Mother, get me out of here, I’m sinking in a storm.
I’ll tell you when the coast is clear, don’t wait for me to run.
And I feel his eyes are everywhere, sticking to my skin.
But it doesn’t come off with soap and water, this mess I’m in.

Fiona-Lee’s voice is the most captivating thing about this track, even more than the very good songwriting. For this reviewer, it conjures Don Henley and Stevie Nicks’ song “Leather and Lace:” Equal parts feathery sweetness and gritty determination. Let’s hope for more tracks to swoon over soon.



:: “Dead Weight” – Low Hum ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

My school will be kicking off Spirit Month soon to mark the end of the academic year, and along with Sports Day, Hunger Games Day and more, it sounds like Hawaii Day is on the agenda as well! I know just the song to play for my students to set the atmosphere for the Aloha State in class: “Dead Weight” by native islander Collin Desha (and okay, maybe “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” from the Lilo & Stitch soundtrack as well….)

Having grown up on the Big Island and Oahu, Desha is currently living in Los Angeles and conducting a solo music project entitled Low Hum. Nearly 10 years into this creative endeavor, Desha is still going strong, with a new album, Terra Incognita, in the works and an ongoing tour alongside fellow indie acts Ra Ra Riot and Meltt.

His new music is born from a saddening experience– he was robbed while on tour recently and lost much of the creative material he’d been carrying with him at the time– but Desha is determined to turn tragedy into triumph. His latest single, “Dead Weight,” illustrates that resolve well– he describes it as “a song that speaks to perseverance” and inspires the listener to “keep pushing through when things feel difficult and [to keep] your eye on the ball.” It’s an altruistic message, and Low Hum’s synthy, spellbinding production skills evidently survived that rough experience. May nothing but positive ones lie ahead for this talented guy!



:: “lust” – Glixen ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

The fever burns bright in Glixen’s latest single as they drown the airwaves in heavy, shimmering shoegaze. Sweaty drums and guitar fuzz immerse our ears and consume our souls in “lust,” a raw, roaring, sonically and emotionally charged eruption that captures the sheer weight of desire, and how it can so intensely eat us up from the inside out:

you can hold me down
where your hands go
over and over again
to get to you
feels so far away
you’d stay down with me
we’d play in time
slow

Independently released April 19, “lust” is Glixen’s intoxicating second single of the year following February’s enveloping “foreversoon,” which itself marked their return following last August’s debut EP She Only Said (via Julia’s War Records). Unfiltered, unapologetic, and uncompromising, “lust” is a shoegaze fever dream at its finest, and the perfect introduction to the Phoenix, Arizona-based band comprised of lead vocalist Aislinn Ritchie, guitarist Esteban Santana, drummer Keire Johnson, and bassist Sonia Garcia.

“‘lust’ is about the yearning and wanting of somebody and the rush that that person makes you feel,” Aislinn Ritchie tells Atwood Magazine. “It is a feeling that is shallow, yet it feels intense and passionate but only for a moment. We wanted to take the direction of our sound to a heavier place. I wanted the weight of the sound to crush me.”

Esteban Santana explains how “lust” began as two separate ideas that he and Ritchie had on guitar: “Two melodies that were so perfect for each other, written separately and just flowed so naturally together once we were in the practice space. This song embodies the sounds that we’ve been trying to capture. A numbing sonic experience, we’ve taken our sound a step further by embracing bleak tones and intimate words sung by Aislinn.”

Santana said it best by calling this song a “numbing sonic experience”: Glixen set out to take our breaths away, and for these four minutes, they allow their audience the opportunity to be fully drowned in sound. Active for just a few years, Glixen are quickly gaining traction in the alternative community – and for good reason: Recent songs like “Splendor” and “Moodswing” (from last year’s EP) and even 2021’s debut single “Sugarcube” effortlessly convey a plethora of emotions, while nonetheless filling our ears with dynamic, dramatic, and at times quite dulcet shoegazey warmth and wonder.

Having just finished playing a string of shows with Softcult, Glitterer, and King Woman, Glixen are now looking forward to supporting Interpol and DIIV on the road this spring – and they’ll surely bring the heat of “lust” wherever they go. Their sophomore EP, produced by Sonny DiPerri (My Bloody Valentine, DIIV, Protomartyr, Emma Ruth Rundle), is due to drop later this year.

over and over again
i’m so caught up
you can hold me down
softly just for me



:: “Retrograde” – Babe Rainbow ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

A sweet, springtime seduction, Babe Rainbow’s “Retrograde” is a heavy dose of bright UV light (and maybe a bit of lunar light as well) channeled into hot, sweaty, seductive psychedelia at its finest. The Aussie band’s first song of the year (following 2023’s silky, spore-y Mushroom EP) aches with longing, nostalgia, and a pervasive melancholia, all courtesy of lead singer Angus Dowling’s emotive vocal performance; and yet, none of these feelings stop the song itself from dazzling our ears and uplifting our souls. The harmonies are thick and rich, the melodies tender and sweet – all of which creates a comforting, cozy, smile-inducing experience that is sure to put a pep in our step, no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

I know the moon’s in retrograde right now
but does spirit out of body ever come???
we’re so in love we’ll never, never be alone again,
i’m high on catching up
I’d lie in the light but the moon
is too bright for me!

go around
is there still a you to be found?

As Dowling explains, “Retrograde” was born on the other side of the world, while the band were visiting The Big Apple and recording at a studio in Brooklyn. “I was in New York last November riding bikes around Prospect Heights looking for Clifford The Big Red Dog,” he recalls – even his explanations of songs make us crack a smile or two. “I also did nights at a studio around there called Figure 8 Studios on Sterling Place and Underhill. ‘Retrograde’ wasn’t directly inspired by anything, more so that we had just gotten obsessed with astrologist Kaypacha’s Pele Reports, and I just thought it fit the mood of Jack [Crowther]’s chord progression. Later, when the engineer was playing the doowah back up, it took a Beach Boys turn. Plus being in NYC and feeling the energy of Jules Casablanca in the streets and bars around gave it that fuzz bass sound that I still wish was louder.”

Yeah I know it’s retrograde right now
but i miss him
wish a little bit when we’d gather round.
Say hello to never feeling low again.
Where everyone treats you the same

It may not be as Strokes-y as Dowling had wanted – they can save that for the live show if they like – but “Retrograde” is nevertheless a radiant, smoldering Babe Rainbow reverie: The kind of dreamy, colorful, compelling enchantment we can’t help but play on repeat as we soak up whatever rays we can get this time of year – be it from the sun, or from a song.

I’d lie in the light but the moon
is too bright for me!
go around
is there still a you to be found?
Take every chance that comes
don’t call me I’ll call you
Out of body anyone?



— — — —

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