Atwood Magazine’s Weekly Roundup: May 10, 2024

Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | May 10, 2024
Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | May 10, 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 Gracie Abrams, Guster, Lucius & Marcus Mumford, Rum Jungle, Pomme, milk., Valley, NOEL, Sega Bodega, Raghd, Phoebe Go, Kobra Paige, The Howl & The Hum, Lauren Ann, Pete Philly & Perquisite, Egosex, Sam Varga, Sadye, Ceara Cavalieri, Full of Hell, Lisa LeBlanc, & Pocketboy Solid!
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Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup

:: “Risk” – Gracie Abrams ::

Aaron Childree, Ithaca, New York

Last week, singer/songwriter Gracie Abrams released “Risk,” the first single from her upcoming album The Secret of Us, which is slated for a June 21st release via Interscope Records. “Risk is a catchy, upbeat song that explores the excitement and anxiety of jumping into a new relationship.

The track begins with the quick strums of a palm-muted acoustic guitar, and the instrumental slowly builds from there. Abrams speeds through the lyrics, the fast-moving vocals combining with the crescendo of the band to create a track that is constantly propelled forward. The song’s frantic energy skillfully mirrors the anxiety Abrams is singing about:

God, I’m actually invested
Haven’t even met him
Watch this be the wrong thing, classic
God, I’m jumping in the deep end
It’s more fun to swim in
Heard the risk is drowning
But I’m gonna take it

The upcoming The Secret of Us is the follow-up to Abrams’s excellent 2023 album Good Riddance and comes on the heels of her Best New Artist Grammy nomination. This first single sets a high bar and successfully builds excitement for the already highly-anticipated album.

:: “The Elevator” – Guster ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

I’ve always felt a kinship to Guster. Long before we were all fellow Tufts grads, their music was a down-to-earth North Star full of endearing warmth, uplifting energy, and unabridged introspection (yes, “Satellite” was once upon a time my favorite song, too). These qualities held true for seminal records like 2003’s Keep It Together and 2006’s Ganging Up on the Sun, and they hold true for the songs off the band’s upcoming ninth studio album, Ooh La La (out May 17 via Ocho Mule Records) – especially its most recent single, “The Elevator.”

A tender, beautifully bittersweet song written from a parent to their child, “The Elevator” is an intimate expression of love and acceptance – both recognizing and surrendering to the inevitable, unavoidable passage of time. It’s a song full of wistful warmth and nostalgia, with Guster flashing through memories like one might a deck of cards, only to assuage their loved ones that everything is (and will be) alright: “Nothing’s wrong,” Ryan Miller sings. “It’s just a celebration. I can’t just keep them waiting. Gonna miss you when I’m gone.”

Having lost a parent, these words have an extra sting to them, and yet it’s all in good faith; Guster are singing about the circle of life in their own poetic way, and whether that means death and loss, or watching your children grow up and become full-fledged adults right before your very eyes, “The Elevator” is an undeniably special, heartwarming song.

“As we were writing, there was something about the feeling of this song – the way the chords, the groove, the melody all coalesced – it was evocative,” Guster recently shared with Atwood Magazine. “It had the beginnings of a place where you wanted to go, which is really all you can ask from a song.”

“The lyrics were the last missing part of this placemaking. “On lyric writing session number 203 the word ‘Elevator’ slipped out and it seemed to unlock something that, um, elevated and then a bit of gravity took over. Sometimes all parts of a song come in one piece and sometimes you have to go on an adventure. A hard one. This was that kind of song. Feels like we may have gotten there though!”

Let me go,” Miller sings at the end. “Here comes the elevator. I hoped I’d never say it. Gonna miss you when I’m gone.”

Whenever that elevator comes for us and wherever it takes us, we know it’s sure to be far from here – some other level on some other plane. It’s just one more reason to seize the day, soak in the present, and embrace this moment for all it’s worth, because once it’s all gone, it’s not coming back.

:: “Go Home” – Lucius ft. Marcus Mumford ::

Christine Buckley, Connecticut

Last year marked the 10th anniversary of Lucius’ debut album Wildewoman (pronounced WILL-deh-woman), and Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig have commemorated the groundbreaking, critically-acclaimed work with a new song release, an anniversary tour and new art and merch. Now they’ve re-recorded the album, which will be released next week, called Wildewoman: The New Recordings. This week they released the re-recording of “Go Home,” featuring Marcus Mumford.

The original slow, clangy, gut-wrenching tune showcases Wolfe and Laessig’s transcendentally synced vocals, but the addition of Mumford’s distinct bright timbre makes it more cutting, more biting, more likely to slice at your heart – not merely press on it, as the lyrics suggest.

Press on my heart, I will say
Press on my heart I will say
I don’t need you anyway
I don’t need you, go home
Go home

“We’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with Marcus Mumford both in Joni’s living room and on many a summer festival jam, so this felt like such a natural pairing,” the group wrote on their Instagram. “His beautifully distinct and soulful voice shines so brightly on this song.”

“There’s very little that gives me more pleasure on stage than to foghorn my way through a Lucius tune…They are the greatest in the world at navigating vocal parts, so when they invited me in to re-record ‘Go Home’ I launched myself at the opportunity,” Mumford wrote on his page.

Watch for the new Wildewoman: The New Recordings, releasing May 17.

:: “Did The Morning Let You Down” – Rum Jungle ::

Joe Beer, Surrey, UK

Hailing from Newcastle, Australia, four-piece indie rock band Rum Jungle deliver one of their most relatable anthems to date with “Did The Morning Let You Down.” Touching on the importance of resilience in the face of adversity, the band explains how it’s inevitable that throughout life we will experience hurdles and the only thing we can do is pick ourselves up and keep on moving forward. This uplifting and motivational song encompasses everything we love about Rum Jungle. From the jangly guitars and relaxed vocals, to a toe-tapping beat and infectious melody, there is no doubt that “Did The Morning Let You Down” will be stuck in your head all day long.

Lead singer Benny shares, “You’d be lying to yourself if there hasn’t been a morning in your life that you’ve not been stoked with the events of the night before or something’s weighing you down and that morning it hits you hard. Mistakes get made, shit goes wrong, everything’s tough for everyone in their own relative state. What this one is about though is pickin’ up and rollin’ on and understanding the world is the way it is, and finding that thing or person or reason to charge on with some sonic stability.”

The release of  “Did The Morning Let You Down” and its vibrant new music video coincides with the bands current UK/EU tour, where they are certain to make some waves for their addictive live performance and intoxicating energy.

:: “Qui a tué Grand’ Maman” – Pomme ::

Julia Dzurillay, New Jersey

Pomme transported listeners to balmy August, frigid January, and everything in between with 2024’s Saisons — an album that explored the sentiments attached to each month. With her latest cover, this artist fully lives up to her “half-pixie half-human” aesthetic.

Qui a tué Grand’ Maman” feels like running through a misty forest or flipping through water-stained family portraits. It holds the emotional weight similar to “If You Want Me” from Once the movie musical. Sombre, celestial, and sonically interesting, especially by ending on a major chord.

:: “Don’t Miss It.” – milk. ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Dublin’s milk. waste no time in making their voices heard on their highly-anticipated 2024 return. “Don’t Miss It.,” the indie pop band’s first single since last year’s acclaimed 3, the EP., is a spectacular sonically and emotionally charged fever dream reckoning with unresolved emotions. Swift (clocking in at just over three minutes), tight, and catchy, it’s a dramatic upheaval of those turbulent, aching emotions that eat us up from the inside out; the feelings we need to let out, lest they consume us whole:

I’ve been dealing with this feeling.
That I’m selfish.
But I can’t help it.
I’ve been holding out on hope.
And I feel foolish.
Cause I don’t do this.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.

“‘Don’t Miss It’ has already become an important song for us and a fixture of our live show of late,” drummer Morgan Wilson tells Atwood Magazine. “We have closed the show with it across the last tour purely because of how fun it was to play, and it has become very closely linked with a real feeling of togetherness and excitement for us. It will always remind me of our live show, and we sought to carry as much of that tangible energy into this recording as we could.”

I’ve been facing my mistakes.
And don’t make me say it.
Cause I’ll just fake it.
I’ve been drooling over you.
Don’t just say it.
Please display it.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.
I don’t miss it no I just miss you.

Candid lyrics and a cathartic, fiery soundbite of a chorus herald milk.’s comeback in a big, bold way. With their long-awaited debut album supposedly in the works (after three incredible EPs) and, rumour has it, slated to release later this year, there has never been a better time to hop on the bandwagon and get to know one of my personal favorite bands – a group who tells it like it is, truly holding nothing back when they declare, “I’ve been dealing with this feeling.

Oof. Pour yourself a tall glass of milk. and prepare for an unforgettable onslaught of while-hot sound.

I just said I want to be alone to see if I’d believe it.
Take the time to figure out the things that I’m not seeing.
I’ve been dealing with this feeling.
That I’m helpless.
And I can’t help it.

:: “When You Know Someone” – Valley ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Valley’s new single has been billed as a reintroduction, but fear not longtime fans: They’re still the same dynamic and vibrant indie pop band we’ve all come to know and love over these past eight years.

Minus one; founding member and lead guitarist Mickey Brandolino announced his bittersweet departure from the band earlier this year, leaving lead singer Rob Laska, bassist Alex Dimauro, and drummer Karah James to carry on as a trio.

And carry on, they will: Released today via Capitol and UMG Canada, “When You Know Someone” channels feelings of betrayal and abandonment, heartache and helplessness into a fiery, impassioned anthem. “When you know someone, think you know someone, so well, and when they break your heart, it’s never equal parts, oh, well,” Rob Laska sings hot on the mic, his fiery voice ready and willing to spill the contents of his heavy soul.

Would it be hyperbole to say this is Valley’s greatest low? Perhaps, but like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the trio rise up higher than ever in a spectacularly cathartic, emotionally charged chorus:

Jump ship right there in mid-ocean
‘Nother sinking hand means
one less that I’m holding

Your secret life cut me open
Too proud to say so
I’m not what you want
When you know someone
You really know someone
Someone like me

“The song is about abandonment and feeling like we were on something in the middle of the ocean and that someone suddenly jumped ship,” Rob Laska tells Atwood Magazine. “It felt important to share that song because it feels like one of our lowest points as we build back up. We had to go to the darkest corner first.”

“We wrote it with Trent Dabbs (Kacey Musgraves, COIN, Ingrid Michaelson) who helped us channel the emptiness we were feeling,” bandmate Karah James adds. “He sang the lyric ‘when you know someone, think you know someone,’ and I remember all of us just feeling so exposed and so seen by him in that moment. It’s a beautiful feeling of safety when you can write a song with people that truly understand where you’re coming from – you can’t hide, and that’s powerful.”

To their credit, Valley don’t hide from the loss of Brandolino or glance over his departure like it doesn’t hurt them – as individuals, and as a unit (they’ve previously described the band as both a business and a family in interviews with Atwood Magazine). And let’s not play dumb or pretend we don’t all know what this song is all about, either: Even if things are completely copacetic and amicable, they can still harbor feelings of grief, betrayal, resentment, insecurity, and everything else.

Thought I knew you well
Had you to myself, myself
So sick of trying too little, than trying too hard
Expecting me to find you when you left me in the dark
From strangers to friends to strangers again
I knew from the start this is how it would end

Produced by Chase Lawrence of COIN, “When You Know Someone” is Valley’s fresh start – a reset and new beginning that, for them, is all about “leaving no stone unturned at rock-bottom to make way for a new life.” Unapologetic though its lyrics may be,  “When You Know Someone” is not about wallowing in the pain of loss, but rather, finding the strength to soldier on despite (or in spite of) it .And so, out of one life’s highest mountains there springs a new Valley – one determined to keep upping the ante, improving their game, and making the best damn music of their career.

“When You Know Someone,” if I may say so myself, is a phenomenal step in that direction.

:: “Without Calling” – NOEL ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

At the moment, the musical news in Sweden is largely dominated by (what else?) Taylor Swift’s upcoming shows there and how so many Americans are flying to Stockholm to catch the Eras Tour in that city, oftentimes spending less in the process than a ticket back home would have been. For those like me, though, who have sadly accepted that their piggy banks may just not be plump enough to see the Eras Tour, abroad or otherwise, we’ll simply have to find different ways to connect with the current musical ongoings in Sweden.

Thankfully, local artists like NOEL are there to provide us with just that outlet. This Stockholm native went on a wilderness retreat with a couple of his friends recently and, while they were all hanging out in their cabin, they pulled out their guitars and notebooks, then got a handful of tracks composed together. “Without Calling” was one of them– in its author’s words, this song is “ about the struggle between doing what you want and what’s right. In this case it’s about wanting to love but not feeling good enough for it, which ends up with you distancing yourself from it.”

Lyrics like “Did I mean that much to you? I’m the mystery no one’s solving– You [shouldn’t] love me but you do” drive that principal theme home. Overall, it’s a well-crafted song, featuring the same sort of powerful vocals and emotional crescendo that has characterized several of NOEL’s past tracks. He’s on an admirable trend right now, all things considered.

:: Dennis – Sega Bodega ::

Eric Schuster, Los Angeles, CA

Sega Bodega (Salvador Navarrete) makes music that is ethereal, captivating, and innovative. His first album, Salvador, showcased some of his mesmerising production abilities. Many of the songs were club-ready from the jump. Navarrete’s next album, Romeo, felt more personal and less like he was trying to make a chart-topping single. The beauty of Salvador’s music is the way that it combines acoustic and electric music so seamlessly.

Navarrete has worked with some of the most creative artists in the industry. The list includes Caroline Polachek, slowthai, Shygirl, Bjork, and Rosalia. Just to name a few.

Dennis is his first solo release since 2021. One of the standout tracks on the album is “Deer Teeth,” which demonstrates his ability to weave between sounds with the best of them. The song begins with distorted vocal melody’s in an irregular time signature before transitioning to the first verse of his pitch-altered lyrics. The production becomes more traditional, with a drum pattern and synthesisers providing the harmony. Just when the listener thinks they have gotten their bearings, the beat drops out from under them and the song’s final minute takes us on to a nightclub dance floor, a sound that Navarrete has smoothly piloted several times in his illustrious career.

:: “Easy Go!” – Raghd ::

Liv Goodbody, Brighton, UK

Raghd’s glittery, bite-sized single “Easy Go!” integrates intoxicatingly languid jungle with fresh and vulnerable lyrics, creating an addictive dance track bound to be on repeat for the foreseeable.

Released by the Swedish artist in April 2023, “Easy Go!” has become an instant favourite of mine through her curation of a distinctively progressive sound, fueled by high-energy attitude and sustained by melodic, irresistible vocals. Raghd’s venture down this amalgamation of electronic avenues brings to mind the work Nia Archives. Both young female artists successfully combine bold, distracting drumbeats with surprisingly honest lyrics, resulting in music that indulges a desire to move whilst feeling more sincere and complex than your regular dance track.

Raghd reveals she wrote this song “about and for” herself to articulate the risks she had to take to invest in her musical projects. Her experiences of vulnerability and rejection explain her candid lyrics: “even if I get like, a hundred more no’s, of course I’m gonna go”, whilst her self-assurance and persistence is reflected in her tenacious breakbeats.

In an interview for Vogue Scandinavia, Raghd cites British punk-rock and Baltimore Club as influential genres, explaining her aptitude for combining genres in her own music. Personally, I am becoming increasingly drawn to dance music that follows the unconventional formula of mixing noisy breakbeats with confessional lyricism. I feel it creates a new category of dance which feels progressive within the genre whilst less traditionally male-dominated.

The only criticism I could have of Raghd is that other than her 2023 EP A Good Friend, her discography remains pretty light. However, the artist’s growing reputation in the underground Scandi scene and her authentic dance tracks leave me very excited to see what this artist will release next.

:: “Stupid” – Phoebe Go ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Never one to shy away from her own aches, pains, and traumas, Phoebe Go always says the quiet aloud – and to great effect, I might add. “I never loved you for fun,” she sings in her latest breathtaking single. “I did it because it hurt.” A gut-wrenching, beautifully brutal confessional, “Stupid” aches from the inside out as the Australian singer/songwriter (and Atwood Editor’s Pick) reflects on a (former) partner who’s moved on, the hole that’s left in her heart, and the life she’s missing:

And it’s cool that you found someone
And it’s cool that it’s her
But it makes me feel so stupid
And nervous and lonely
That you’re doing all the shit that we did
And it’s perfect, you know me

Released April 25, “Stupid” is a brooding acoustic ballad full of unapologetic candidness and raw emotional fragility. The fourth and final single off Phoebe Go’s forthcoming debut album Marmalade (out May 17) is as perfect an introduction to her soul-baring artistry as one could possibly ask for: In three hushed and heartrending minutes,  we bear witness to Phoebe Go’s unraveling.

“This song’s really tender,” she tells Atwood Magazine. After I wrote the first verse I remember thinking, ‘Nobody is ever gonna hear this. No f*ing way.’ It was one of those songs that just breaks down the doors. I didn’t choose it, if you know what I mean. I find this song really comforting. It’s about letting go. Sometimes you just gotta dive in.”

I never loved you for fun
I did it for the hell
By the pool with your T-shirt on
When you said everything that I felt
And it makes me feel so stupid
And nervous and lonely
That you’re doing all the shit that we did
And it’s perfect, you know me

You never know how or when grief will knock the wind out of your sails. As she recounts one such moment of reckoning and reflection, Phoebe Go takes our breath away in turn – reminding us how it feels to break down and spontaneously combust from the inside out.

And I
Never meant to change your mind
Whеn you said, “just take your time”
We did morе than blur the lines
Now, it makes me feel so stupid
And nervous and lonely
That you’re doing all the shit that we did
And it’s perfect, you know me
Yeah, you’re doing all the shit that we did
And it’s perfect, you know me
You know me

:: “Hott”- Kobra Paige ::

Julius Robinson, California

With social media consuming our lives, it can sometimes take a toll on our mental health. We follow these influencers that appear to have this picture perfect life. They are attractive, wealthy and seem to have it all figured out. Kobra Paige’s new single and video for “Hott” reminds us to not play the toxic comparison game and accept ourselves flaws and all. In the imaginative visuals she checks herself into a made-up clinic called ‘Dr. Worthlove’s Center for Self-Confidence.’ They claim to have the miracle cure for all your blotches and blemishes, but self-love is about embracing those imperfections.

The Canadian artist creates seductive music with an edge. Paige is preparing for her second project focusing on topics of social change. Her work captivates listeners deeply as she writes courageous messages we can connect to. Seeking a societal shift, she leads the conversation as a voice for change. “Hott” is a bold step towards that transformation.

:: “Same Mistake Twice” – The Howl & The Hum ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

I never make the same mistake twice; I always aim for a third time,” sings a candid Sam Griffiths in The Howl & The Hum’s spirited new single. His voice is hot on the mic, his words intimate on the ears like it’s just us and him in a room, and we’re bearing witness to the singer/songwriter spilling his soul in song.

In many ways, that’s exactly what’s going on – because as triumphant as “Same Mistake Twice” feels, it’s also tinged with an unavoidable bittersweetness: This is The Howl & The Hum’s debut as a solo project, following 2020’s critically acclaimed debut album Human Contact and 2021’s concert album Live at York Minster. Founding members Bradley Blackwell, Jack Williams, and Conor Hirons parted ways with Griffiths (amicably, or so it seems), leaving him the sole member of the folk rock band they started together in the mid-2010s; and in proper torch-bearer fashion, Griffiths runs full speed ahead into the next phase of his project with his heart and soul plastered all over his sleeve, glancing backward and nodding as if to say, “If I could, I’d do it all over again.

Or as he’s more poetically put it in song, “If I had one more chance, I’d always make the same mistakes twice.

I never make the same mistake twice
I always aim for a third time
I climbed through your window
and tripped on the blinds
I guess I’m impaired in my foresight

“‘Same Mistake Twice’ is the first record with The Howl & The Hum as a solo project,” Griffiths tells Atwood Magazine. “It pays its dues to all the things we got right and wrong before, as a band, as friends and as collaborators, and celebrates the things that make us the most human: The what-ifs and the victories we carry around with us.”

“It concludes that, despite all our bulls*** and arguments, if we were given a second chance at life from the start, we’d always make the same mistakes twice.”

The lesson (if there is one to be) learned is, embrace the ride. Cherish the everyday. Life isn’t about making the highs outweigh the lows, or analyzing what you could have done better for next time; it’s about soaking in the full experience and making the most of it. It’s about appreciating the people around you, being present and active in your own story, and leading with your heart. It’s a beautiful sentiment that Griffiths wouldn’t change a thing, and one that not very many people in his hypothetical scenario would necessarily share, but this is his moment, and these are his mistakes to make over and over again, for as long as he pleases.

I spent all my youth playing video games
That convinced me when we die we go round again
So all these mistakes all those voice notes to you
I’ll sidestep with grace when I’m here for round two
I never make the same mistake twice
If I do it’s an encore
The ghost of Thelonius Monk in my mind
Says there’s no such thing as a wrong chord

Released May 9 via Miserable Disco, “Same Mistake Twice” is the lead single off The Howl & The Hum’s forthcoming sophomore album of the same name (out September 6).

“This is an album about Dread,” Griffiths says of his full LP. “About a very real, everyday dread so many of us feel surrounded by screens showing us how we should be, what a good person is, what a bad person is. It’s about trying to have and handle and process big messy emotions in a world that wants things to be small, simple, and quickly decided. Every person is flawed, every person has baggage, shrapnel they take with them that makes the airport security beep. This album is about acknowledging that shrapnel, poking it, flipping it and seeing what lives under it, and learning to fall in love with the version of yourself full of holes and missing pieces.”

“This is a breakup album mourning the loss of a band, and all that comes with it: ego trips, insecurities, lost friendships, fading love, rekindling old fires and a path to acceptance.”

I’m always forgetting my friends’ occupations,
I swear that I’m listening, I’m just feeling jaded
You moved to London with everyone else
I stayed in Yorkshire avoiding success
There’s a man in the pub
says he used to be young
And he looked just like me,
did the things that I’ve done
But he left Michelle for a job in PR
And now he’s got hard drives of pictures of her

Dramatic and dynamic, urgent and angsty, “Same Mistake Twice” is an unapologetic emotionally charged fever dream: As The Howl & The Hum returns, he makes damn sure we know that he’s right where he belongs.

So yes, this is a triumph – a beautiful one, at that.

:: “BITE” – Lauren Ann ::

Joe Beer, Surrey, UK

Irish alternative indie artist Lauren Ann serves up chapter two of her upcoming EP. With the concept of the release detailing each of the seven deadly sins, her latest single “BITE” focuses on wrath. Sonically “BITE” perfectly captures the emotions that come with wrath, featuring intense, distorted instrumentation and powerful vocals that emit a tension and unease throughout the track.

The Belfast based artist shares, “In a way I’ve created a character or alter ego who experiences all of the sins in some way. Some of the songs are also about the different types of people I have met in my own life. I feel like everyone has encountered negative feelings of greed, wrath, pride etc. at some point in their life.”

Reminiscent of the likes of Deftones, The Smashing Pumpkins and Hole, Lauren Ann has crafted a hypnotic sound, colliding garage rock with grunge elements and pop embellishments. With the addition of subtle nods to the ’90s, “BITE” is an impressive release that sets the tone for the remainder of the EP.

:: “My Stereo” – Pete Philly & Perquisite ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

I love a good hip-hop comeback story, but I also know not to take them for granted, since a lot of times they just don’t happen (for instance, am I still clinging to hope that one day there may be a new Fugees, D-12, or G-Unit album? Errrr not all that tightly). So again, that’s what makes it super fulfilling to witness the ones that do work out, which is the case for Dutch hip-hop duo Pete Philly & Perquisite. Although they had not made any new music together since the late end of the George W. Bush administration, the pair did reunite for a show at the AFAS Live concert hall in their native Amsterdam this past fall. That experience evidently energized them into completing their comeback by recording some new music. This includes their official “comeback single,” entitled “My Stereo.”

Despite branding themselves as a hip-hop duo, there isn’t really any rapping done on “My Stereo”– I’ll have to give the newly released accompanying album Eon a listen to see what other new tracks of theirs may indeed feature some MC’ing. But Pete Philly & Perquisite (whose real names are Pedro Philip Monzon and Pieter Perquin, respectively) toss in some other key musical components, including some melodious chanting, lyrics that embody the love of their craft– “It’s good to know that my stereo only plays songs that’re from the soul”– and a soulful, funky beat to go along with it all.

“This is a new chapter in our story, but a continuation of our sound,” Perquisite says of his duo’s new releases. “On the whole, it feels like a more grounded, balanced sound.” After a 15-odd year hiatus, it’s awesome that he and Pete Philly got to achieve just that upon their return to the studio.

:: “Same Mouth” – Egosex ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

“No, I don’t wanna control you – I only wanna blow your mind,” sings Egosex’s singer and producer Wekaforé in his band’s latest single. Consider our minds blown: Independently released April 29, “Same Mouth” is an intoxicating seduction of smoldering, soul-stirring sound, tantalizing lyrics, and provocative Afro-electronic performance.

Following March’s utterly intoxicating “Yes, We Are in Love,” the second single off Egosex’s forthcoming sophomore EP 15 Minutes of Fame is a powerful, entrancing listen – not to mention an instantly memorable (re)introduction to the Barcelona-based band. Led by Wekaforé together with saxophonist Joseph Epere and drummer/producer Will Ross, Egosex exist at a unique intersection between the worlds of Afrobeats and electronica – a Venn diagram that, with their help, now has a lot more overlap than it did just a few years ago. Their unique sound helps them stand out, yet it’s their execution that keeps us coming back for more – and “Same Mouth” is perfectly executed.

Body full of emotion,
baby let’s go on a ride
Two feet, don’t lose composure
You gotta look down when you’re high
No, I don’t wanna control you

I only wanna blow your mind
Feel the rush is coming, baby
But I gotta take my time
You tell me that you want me
Then you go and change your mind

“In Nigeria we have a saying, ‘Change Mouth,’ which means ‘when you say something and change your mind afterwards,’” Wekaforé shares. “When people say “you are always changing your mouth” it means you are indecisive and untrustworthy. My main inspiration for the song was this ironic stance of how it’s impossible to actually change your mouth – we kiss, spit, laugh, scream, shout, suck all from the same mouth. We wanted to push our vision of electronic Afrobeats to the world.”

“The musical composition is a direct evolution of the Egosex sound which we identify as ‘Trance Jungle Blues,’ taking a step a deeper by infusing classical Fela-esque Afrobeat elements, including the saxophone.”

Feel the rush is coming baby
But I gotta take my time
Tell me that you want me
Then you go and change your mind
Same mouth wey you use judge me
Same mouth wey you use kiss me
Same mouth wey you use cast me
Same mouth wey you use call me back

Immersive and all-consuming, “Same Mouth” pulls us deep into Egosex’s world, inviting us to stop and spend some time with their sultry, heated Afro-fusion landscapes and their hypnotizing, soul-stirring lyrics. The band is indeed a force to be reckoned with, and one who – we hope – get far more than just fifteen minutes of fame; these songs deserve to be not just heard, but felt around the world.

You should have never came over
I should have never got drinks
You should have never looked good
Baby now we’re stuck in the mink
You daddy and your momma don’t know
We’re going in together for sure
Your body on my body on the floor
Your body on my body on the floor
Same mouth wey you use judge me
Same mouth wey you use kiss me
Same mouth wey you use cast me
Same mouth wey you use call me back

:: “Jim Carrey” – Sam Varga ::

Julius Robinson, California

People often use humor as a way to deflect. Many times a joke can be employed to mask darker emotions buried under the surface. Sam Varga’s new song “Jim Carrey” uses the famous comedian/actor to illustrate how he handles certain situations. He recalls in the piece a time when he was seven and he prevented an argument between his parents by making them laugh. It is easy to get trapped in that cycle of using jokes in serious times, but it is not always a laughing matter. His emotive Blink-182 style tone sings lines that truly strike a chord. “It felt safe to be the punch line. A role that I was born to play. I sold my soul out for the smiles. I guess I always love the stage.”  It is interesting how his vocals have an alt/emo quality while the backdrop emits a folk/country flavor adding another layer of depth to the track.

The Kentucky native creates music that resonates profoundly with all who listen. His willingness to completely open up in his releases provides a space for others to be vulnerable as well. He reveals his most authentic self with each flaw on full display. “Jim Carrey” is off of his upcoming album Shadow Work. The composition’s title is fitting as this single exhibits his personal shadow work.

:: “The Joke Is On Me” – Sadye ::

Chloe Robinson, California

They say… “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Though that expression can ring true, another phrase could be “What doesn’t kill you just makes you more messed up”. Sadye’s single “The Joke Is On Me” deals with a tremendous hardship she faced and is still extremely scarred because of it. The singer reveals, “The entire essence of the song is in the first two lines. It’s an idea that has haunted me a lot—physically surviving but becoming kind of mentally ruined. I had a lot of questions in the wake of what I went through and even years later. I put them into this record.” The track is inspired by her cancer battle and the upbeat soundscapes create the perfect juxtaposition.

The daring dark alt-pop artist tends to use sarcasm as a form of release. Her music centers on heavy themes such as toxic relationships and healing intense wounds yet also depicts things like finding her self-worth. With each catchy melody we are drawn deeper into her story. “The Joke Is On Me” is another one that will get you hooked.

:: “That’s My Bitch”- Ceara Cavalieri ::

Chloe Robinson, California

Ceara Cavalieri’s confident anthem “That’s My Bitch,” reminds us that we all could use a hype man/woman in our lives. She created the infectious single for a friend who had just gotten out of a toxic relationship. In that type of romance it can be easy to lose your sense of self. Cavalieri is helping that person rediscover just how bad-ass they truly are. Her fierce vocals float over gritty arrangements to concoct the ultimate punchy pop-rock track.

The artist is a southern California native whose love of music blossomed from an early age. She found her voice at just three years old and has been constantly singing ever since. For Cavalieri, singing/songwriting has always been a form of catharsis. That emotional discharge is felt deeply in every piece of work. This offering is no different.

:: Coagulated Bliss – Full of Hell ::

Will Yarbrough, Philadelphia, PA

Conventional wisdom says a band has to learn the rules in order to break them. That’s often the case with great pop music, but it’s especially true of extreme metal.

` still qualifies as grindcore. The beats blast. The riffs spaz. Dylan Walker shrieks like a fire-breathing pterodactyl. There’s a song called “Vomiting Glass.” Had you started listening at the top of this week’s roundup, then “Malformed Ligature” would just be clawing toward the album’s tattered and bloodied finish line.

Of course, at any moment, Coagulated Bliss can twist into a different grotesque shape. Clanking industrial, alien synth drones, one dying saxophone and a title track that could pass for indie sleaze’s mutant cousin are all churned into the mix. But that chaotic genre blend isn’t surprising. It’s been 15 odd years since Full of Hell took root and they’ve yet to settle on any one stylistic ground.

Full of Hell already made strange bedfellows with doomsaying neanderthals and a Japanese noise pioneer, but it was their latest collaboration that prodded Coagulated Bliss in a truly unexpected direction. Last year, the band released a joint album with Nothing, who discovered heavy shoegaze about a decade too early. If you haven’t heard When No Birds Sang, then check that one out, too. For a hybrid concept album about 9/11, it’s about as close to a mainstream crossover as anyone’s going to get. “Spend the Grace” fucks me up good. Apparently, it also f*ed up Full of Hell.

Coagulated Bliss is billed as the band’s most accessible, pop-minded album. Fine; maybe I’m stretching the truth here. The press release does harp on how they     “recognized that there was value in pop music”, but Top 40 radio would never touch something that’s so deranged as “Doors to Mental Agony.”

Still, there’s a method to their madness. Full of Hell understand that a lot of people get into heavy music to escape feeling powerless. “A thousand dead ends / A thousand dead friends / I hear their howling / I hear their weeping” Walker screams over a relatively tame hardcore stomp. After doing that thing all good grindcore does — where the song’s rhythm gets turned upside down faster than your stomach on a rollercoaster — “Doors to Mental Agony” braces for a breakdown. The drums kick, as if testing the speakers, while the bass line descends like a spider from its web.

What follows is something even more visceral. I won’t ruin the surprise. You’ll have to watch the video. Just have a trash can handy. You’ll need it to mop your brains off the floor.

:: Lisa LeBlanc ::

Oliver Crook, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Chiac is defined as “is a patois of Acadian French spoken mostly in southeastern New Brunswick, Canada.” It is part of the rich, vibrant and beautiful culture of the Acadians, of which Lisa Leblanc is a proud member—and one of their most successful exports. While she doesn’t possess a bad album, 2022’s Chiac Disco—recorded and released at the pinnacle of pandemic lockdown, following some boisterous Zoom concerts LeBlanc and friends put on—is a celebration not just of culture, but of life. It’s vibrant and fun, experienced with the tongue firmly in cheek but never shortchanging the music. It’s an album that keeps the bass lines moving, the melodies hypnotically repetitive, and the good times rolling. An album best enjoyed with a friend in the sunshine.

:: “Close Encounters of the Richard Kind” – Pocketboy Solid ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

One of my personal all-time favorite actors, Richard Kind, has had himself a week as the announcer (and, let’s be honest, co-star) of John Mulaney’s pseudo-late night Netflix Show Everybody’s in LA. As such, it’s only fitting that I close off this week’s roundup with a song that literally bears the man’s name – even if it’s less about the man himself, and more about what he perhaps represents. Released April 3, 2024, “Close Encounters of the Richard Kind” is Pocketboy Solid’s debut single, and a spellbinding introduction to the new collaborative project from Chicago’s dreamy-mathpop duo OK Cool and Psychedelic-folk-rock “savoirs” Joe Baughman + The Righteous Few. Soaring melodies and fiery vocals pay homage to the living acting legend while exploring a sense of inner insecurity familiar to so many of us who dip our toes in, but seldom dive headfirst into the deep end for too long:

You see me standing in the cereal aisle
You think you recognize my face
As my name dances on the tip of your tongue
I bend down and grab a damaged box of frosted flakes
You do not have the confidence to make your move
And shoot to kill
I feel I deserve much better than this
But if I don’t take this damaged box nobody else will
I’m a character actor, gonna take the part
And turn the worst of lines into a work of art

“This song is about accepting my role in life as a sort of transient character actor – never fully committed to one thing for too long and thriving in obscurity,” Joe Baughman shares. “As such it’s fittingly named after legendary character actor Richard Kind known for his roles in Argo, Spin City, Mad About You, Big Mouth, Inside Out, and hundreds of other films, tv shows, and cartoons. You may not know by name but would certainly recognize him via his photo or voice.”

But as a fellow Jew who lived on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, of course I know who Richard Kind is – we’ve even chatted about soup before – and now, I’m all too overjoyed to bask in the glow of the song that tributes him, giving him his well-deserved due.

In short, all hail Richard Kind.

You weren’t expecting me to enter you life
It wasn’t long but you gotta say I kept it real
I didn’t expect you to remember my name
But you’ll remember the sensations that I made you feel
It’s not that I’m incapable of staying committed
For the long haul
There are just too many different people to be
I cannot rest, I cannot stop until I’ve been them all
I’m a character actor, gotta take the role
And give the world yet another piece of my soul


— — — —

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