Atwood Magazine’s Weekly Roundup: May 17, 2024

Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | May 17, 2024
Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | May 17, 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 Niamh Regan, flor, The War and Treaty, daysormay, Luci, Jake Bugg, Sunday (1994), Dela Kay, Firebug, Gustaf, Nashon, PRONOUN, Luna Li, Sacha, Noise Cans & Jesse Royal, & blondestandard!
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Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup

:: “Music” – Niamh Regan ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Never in a million years would I have thought I’d have the words “music doesn’t do it for you anymore” stuck in my head, or that I’d be singing them out loud to myself as my mind wandered. It’s a testament to Niamh Regan’s songwriting prowess that she could turn such a phrase not just into a chorus, but into a spirited, seductive mantra – one that ostensibly does the exact opposite of what is claims.

Looking for a good time,
saving for a rainy day
You’ve got so much on your mind,
now you’ve less to say
And the person you fell in love with
Is now in a cult.
Doesn’t ask for money directly,
also something to push
Then you told me
Music doesn’t do it for you anymore
Music doesn’t do it for you anymore
Music doesn’t do it for you

Because “Music” very much does do it for us here: Released May 16th via Faction Records, the final single off the Irish artist’s forthcoming sophomore album is a gentle spark of warmth, inner aching, and human connection. Following her recent songs “Nice,” “Belly,” and “Madonna,” the impassioned “Music” finds Regan soulfully singing into the wind – not necessarily at anyone in particular – about how we sometimes lose our way in this world. Life is a long, long journey, and one filled with plenty of missteps, existential crises, moments of uncertainty and points of self-doubt. I would never hope music “doesn’t do it” for someone – that their metaphorical light flickers, or goes out entirely – but we all know folks for whom that’s happened; if it wasn’t us, then we’ve seen it firsthand.

Looking for a good time
Drink that mediocre wine,
light that stale cigarette
You’re just clearing up sinus’
clearing up your skin
I’m gonna take back five whole years
I’m gonna get back five whole years
With this green juice
Are you watching me lose you? Well
Music doesn’t do it for you anymore
Music doesn’t do it for you anymore
Music doesn’t do it for you

Speaking to Atwood Magazine, Regan reveals that “Music” is one of her favorite songs she’s ever written, and a personal highlight for her off her upcoming record. “I was listening to a lot of Wilco while making this record, and this song is like a nod to that with regards to production,” she says, citing 2016’s Schmilco and 2001’s seminal Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as two of the heaviest inspirations. “The song is just a little love story of a jaded musician that I conjured up, who is looking for a better version of themselves and ultimately feeling lost. I’m also poking fun at myself in this song, but I’d say it’s a 50/50 fiction and truth. It’s the first song that I wrote where I thought this might be an ear worm, and just had lots of fun with the lyrics and melody and I hope that comes across in the recording now.”

I’ve been lost without you
I’m so lost without you
I’m so lost without you
I’m gonna take back five whole years
I’m gonna get back five whole years
With this green juice
Are you watching me lose you?
Well… music doesn’t do it no

Driving “Music” is an unshakeable sense of restlessness and longing; of soul-searching within while scouring the world around you for purpose and place, a source of inspiration and a sense of belonging. With warm instruments and wondrous melodies surrounding her commanding voice, Niamh Regan aches from the inside out. Her soul is exposed and her heart on her her sleeve as she delivers a shiver-inducing reverie of waywardness and wandering, like a ship unmoored, its anchor insecure.

But “Music” isn’t for her alone; it’s for all of us who have ever lost our way, and needed a beacon to shine a light on the path home.

Friends and family (and myself included) would surely find it strange to hear me chanting the line “music doesn’t do it for you” over and over, but to me, Niamh Regan’s cathartic, repetitious chorus is a resounding reminder of life’s magic; through just a few melodic words, she captures the beauty and wonder, the passion and pain of the human experience, whose highs and lows (and oscillations in-between) are all a part of the overall journey.

Just because we’re lost doesn’t mean we can’t be found, and just because we lose a spark doesn’t mean it can’t be rekindled. You might just say I’ve found hope in a hopeless place…

Niamh Regan’s sophomore album Come As You Are is out May 31, 2024.

Music doesn’t do it for you anymore
Music doesn’t do it for you anymore
Music doesn’t do it for you
I’ve been lost without you

:: “Nosedive” – flor ::

Will Yarbrough, Philadelphia, PA

Contrary to what us hipsters want you to believe, indie music was never too far removed from the mainstream. Sonic Youth are my platonic ideal of an indie rock band and they spent the entire ’90s on a major label. At no point in recorded history was this more true than the 2010s, when the alternative charts were flooded by Grouplove, Fitz and The Tantrums, Walk The Moon, Neon Trees, American Authors, The Mowglis and more indie-pop bands than I care to remember.

flor comes from this scene. The band started sometime around 2013 as high schoolers jamming out of a garage in tiny city Oregon. After moving to Los Angeles, they were scooped onto Fueled by Ramen right as the label was regrettably shifting hard and to the left of its patented pop-punk formula. These guys didn’t just fit into that glitter-bombed, Day-Glo lane. They thrived in it. The main stage was probably always out of reach, but flor deserved the same size poster font as COIN or The Band CAMINO, who make up what they lack in perceived coolness by putting actual butts in seats.

If you can’t tell, my tolerance for this kind of shit is extremely low. Last summer, I was dragged to see Mt. Joy and needed a paper bag to control my anger over their Pottery Barn imitation of indie-folk. But I can get down with flor. After all, the band is actually independent now. They’ve self-released several standalone singles that all fall in line with the blissfully bummed-out nostalgia that’s swept over both sides of the FM dial.

Nosedive” is the best of the bunch. What bugs me about this era of indie-pop is that its honking polka-dotted positivity comes off as hopelessly manufactured. But flor have toned down their act. Synths no longer skronk but shimmer, scrubbed clean of EDM’s cultural stain. Any mild funkiness is gone, the guitars now washed and faded like a favorite pair of jeans. The vocals still apply plenty of reverb, but their silky smoothness speaks to a numbed sense of detachment. “Most nights, I’m feeling out of body,” Zach Grace sings as the band eases into a subdued, gliding melody that pleases the ear as much as it soothes the pain.

:: “Leads Me Home” – The War And Treaty ::

Christine Buckley, Connecticut

It’s sort of outrageous that The War And Treaty are topping “new artist” lists when they’ve been making music for a decade, but that’s what happens when you get major label backing, as Michael and Tanya Trotter did with their critically-acclaimed 2023 album Lover’s Game – their fourth LP but the first that has attracted such attention as to get them opening spots with Chris Stapleton, John Legend and Al Green.

They’re both consummate soul vocalists, but damn, Tanya’s got a voice that’s apt to just make you break down and weep. It’s easy to think you can hear the married couple’s heartfelt connection in tracks like Lead Me Home, a simple roots ballad not unlike John Denver’s classic “Country Roads” that flies by sheer might of the pair’s soaring voices. Tell me you’re not just shaking your head in awe when Tanya sings her solo verse:

I remember the hard times
When you found me I had lost my mind
Forgot where I was going
Better yet, where I came from

Looking at The War And Treaty’s tour schedule for this year is a practice in whiplash, as they jet back and forth between Europe and the U.S. until mid-October. Catch them out there if you can.

:: “SIMMER” – daysormay ::

Joe Beer, Surrey, UK

Just as you think things couldn’t get better, Canadian alternative band daysormay hit us with another banger which seems to top them all. Their new single “SIMMER” sees the band teaming up with famed producer Chin Injeti, known for his work with the likes of Dr. Dre, Drake, Eminem, Aloe Blacc and Anderson. Paak, to name a few. With Injeti adding a whole other dimension to their sound, “SIMMER” is a heady and intoxicating release.

Singer Aidan Andrews confides, “There was a point in 2021 when I had covid, and I was isolated in my room for a while. I was really struggling at the time to moderate my consumption of everything, I was giving into any and every impulse that showed up, and I didn’t care. So to me the song is speaking from that place, that state of mind of knowing you’re too far gone but not caring, and even leaning into it.”

Exuding a foreboding essence, “SIMMER” is fueled by deep, pounding beats and chilling synths that despite its darkness, also delivers a strange allure.

:: bittersweet – Luci ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

Luci has been teasing some new material lately, including the music video for a new single called “Drugs,” which we can imagine/hope will be accompanied by a full-length project before too long. To better contextualize her latest releases, it’s worth taking not too large a step back to her debut album, bittersweet, released last August. For instance, the notion that Luci would release a song called “Drugs” makes more sense if you consider that, less than a year ago, she included a song called “sleeping pills” on that LP– she’s keen to document her struggles with substance abuse in her songwriting, it seems.

More fundamentally, Luci is an introspective lyricist keen on sharing her personal life via music. Songs like “y am i not okay” document her various bouts of heartbreak (“I have begged and lost myself over someone who’s thinking of somebody else”), while “karma” indicates that she’s more in line with Alicia Keys’ take on this spiritual concept than Taylor Swift’s (I hope karma gets you back, it hurts you just as bad. It’s gonna get ya… Karma’s gonna handle it and do way more than damage it”).

All the while, the album displays an impressive marriage of EDM and pop music– Luci was an electronica producer before deciding to try her hand at singing, and the results are fully apparent. “Every single song is in reference to a situation I went through personally,” Luci says. “It’s all lessons in the end and these are all my personal experiences with that.” Her willingness to conduct trial-and-error, both out in the open and within the recording studio, paid off big time in 2023, and it’s exciting to see that we’re already being served more of it in the first half of the new year.

:: “Zombieland” – Jake Bugg ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Jake Bugg returns this year with a whole lot more than two fingers in the air: This time, it’s the gut-wrenching churn of unforgiving structures, and the cycles perpetuated by a society that cares less about quality of life and more about output and results, that he’s got on his mind. We all deserve a whole lot more than what we’re given in this lot, but nothing will change if we don’t talk about it.

Thankfully, the Nottingham-born singer/songwriter is going a whole lot farther than just talking about it, calling out ill-used power, societal and structural failures – the cracks and faults of our world – as he sees them. Released May 17, “Zombieland” is an anthem for the bruised and broken, the underdogs who never got their due, and everyone who’s working to live, rather than living. Because let’s face it: That’s no way to be, and it’s a failure of our systems that some so many folks sacrifice their whole lives… and for what? “Round and round it goes again, everyday just looks the same, a broken man in Zombieland.”

It’s been a minute since we’ve heard Bugg this energized and enraged. “It’s brutal,” he says of those caught in a constant cycle of working to live. “They’re not paid what they’re worth. People have the same routine every day, they’re at work more than they see their kids, then the government puts the retirement age up. It’s not right.”

He’s waking up still half asleep
Outside the street lights flicker
He lights a smoke before he leaves
Another day without a dream
He works his fingers to the bone
Just to feed the meter
And it’s so dark when he gets home
The only life he’ll ever know
Round and round it goes again
Everyday just looks the same
A broken man in Zombieland
He knows the price he has to pay
It hurts, but he’s too proud to say
Does all he can in Zombieland

The worst part is that there’s little to no escape from Zombieland – not when the systems are set up against those who pour their blood, sweat, and tears into their work. Bugg may not have direct solutions to these situations, but that doesn’t stop him from calling it how it is, and bringing our attention to the continuous pain and suffering of the world’s working class.

He turns the key and locks the door
Turns up the TV louder
The neighbours fighting through the walls
Don’t that just top it all?
And every hand he’s tried to play
He’s got the joker, not the ace
And now he’s too tired to escape
How can he get out of this place?

Bugg, who up in the Clifton council estate of Nottingham, knows these people firsthand. They’re his friends and family – and if there’s anything to say about this song, it’s that the singer/songwriter is using his voice to start an important dialogue about the conditions of this world, and how it treats those he cares about the most.

As for the music itself, “Zombieland” is a hard-hitting indie rock banger with bits of Britpop shining through the fuzz. The lead single off Bugg’s forthcoming sixth album A Modern Day Distraction (out September 20th via Arista Records) is unrelenting, unapologetic, dynamic, and all-consuming. It’s the kind of song you can’t help but spin on repeat, thanks to its furious guitar solo and headbanging beat. Bugg’s emotionally charged vocal delivery sends shivers down the spine, all but ensuring repeat listens – and maybe a few heads will dig a bit deeper and join him in taking up a worthy cause.

Round and round it goes again
Everyday just looks the same
A broken man in Zombieland
He knows the price he has to pay
It hurts, but he’s too proud to say
Does all he can in Zombieland

:: “Blonde” – Sunday (1994) ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

I was supposed to be the one that won at everything” is easily one of the best openers to a breakup song I’ve ever heard: A brutal, breathtaking admission that, in just a few words, sets a stirring scene full of heartbreak, anguish, grief, and loss. We never expect our love to die, nor do we expect our loved ones to leave us – like The Smiths one sang, that one light never goes out – and when it does, we’re left with memories from a life we can never return to; from a world we once knew so well, which we will never see again.

And yet, the beauty of Sunday (1994)’s “Blonde” is that it captures all that pain in vivid depth and dynamic color. That familiar, relentless aching comes to life through an emotionally charged dream-pop performance – a spellbinding alternative landscape whose radiant guitars, enchanting vocals, and lush production set our worlds on fire while another world crumbles. It’s a powerful, provocative, and all-consuming experience, and a definitive highlight off Sunday (1994)’s recently-released self-titled debut EP.

I was supposed to be
The one that won at everything
But now my car won’t start
And I feel so old in this parking lot
You found someone new this summer
And I’ve got the luck of a suicide bomber
You knew me and all my friends
But our love drowned in the River Thames
How did we drift apart?
Did some girl with her beautiful hair
Steal your beautiful heart?
If I can’t change you
If I can’t change you

“‘Blonde’ is a song about when your ex moves on with someone hotter (and blonder), so you must run to the nearest salon to bleach away the sadness,” Paige Turner, who co-fronts the band with Lee Newell, tells Atwood Magazine. “The majority of the songs on the EP are inspired by a lot of firsts: First love, first heartbreak, first long-distance relationship, First Great Western Railway, etc. It’s a time capsule of all the events that led to me and Lee finding each other. Without them, I would’ve never met the boy who wrote ‘The Loneliness of The Long Flight Home,’ and he would have never met the girl who the song was about.”

Newell and Turner describe “Blonde” as a slow dance to freedom: “When it feels like your life is fading, it’s time to dye. And when the love of your life de-thrones you and chooses someone else with a different shade, then it’s time for a new crown.” They reach their climax in the track’s cathartic chorus, spilling hot n’ heavy emotions into radiant, rousing moment of truth and inner upheaval:

I wanna be like her
I’m gonna dye my hair
I wanna be blonde
If I split my ends,
maybe my heart will mend

‘Cause I’m gonna bе blonde

Released together with the rest of the Sunday (1994) EP on May 3rd, “Blonde” is a sweetly intimate, boldly cinematic reverie – one that calls to mind both ‘90s dream pop pioneers like Mazzy Star and contemporary trailblazers like Alvvays. Ultimately, the song stands out on its own merits as the intercontinental duo – she from LA, he from Slough, UK – deliver a truly heartrending ode to the post-breakup reeling: That turbulent, terrible imbalance we feel when our worlds get completely, utterly shattered.

“Blonde” may be the result of devastation, but to their credit, Sunday (1994) have turned their pain into beauty. “A brand new me, blonde and free,” Paige Turner sings at the song’s soul-stirring close. “I’m finally free.

You’ve been sticking it in to some girl
Who lives in Chatsworth
That place is a shithole
I’ve been stirring up bleach in my grandma’s sink
‘Cause I wanna be someone new
I wanna be like her
I’m gonna dye my hair
I’m gonna be blonde
If I split my ends, maybe my heart will mend
‘Cause I’m gonna be blonde
A brand new me
Blonde and free
I’m finally free
I’m finally free

:: “Saving Face” – Dela Kay ::

Hamish Monk, Essex, England

This is a brand new track from Nashville-based pop-punk artist, Dela Kay. The song, ‘Saving Face’, is the fourth single from her upcoming EP, and handles that complex emotion of witnessing deserved karma. It’s an as-it-says-on-the-tin number, with tasteful processing on very present vocals, and a melody that stays with you long after putting the headphones down. There’s a wonderful, early-noughties nostalgia about it – harking back to the days of Avril Levine, Blink 182 and Fall Out Boy. And who doesn’t want another slice of that?

The whole run-time is book-ended with sounds from the studio. It’s a clever move – providing insight into the song’s conception; making it feel all the more satisfying once the song kicks in.

:: “Red, White and Blue” – FireBug ::

Chloe Robinson, California

AThere is so much turmoil plaguing the world today. Between the brutal wars waging on, political conflicts etc. there is a vast divide. Joshua Tree duo FireBug’s powerful track “Red, White and Blue” is for all those who feel lost and alone. It reminds us that now more than ever we must come together to navigate a path towards peace. The song commences with military style drums leading up to a high-pitched vocal chant skating over edgy electric guitar. With every mesmerising note we sense the pain of unjust hatred and a hope that love will prevail. FireBug joined forces with two-time Grammy Award winner Adrian Bushby on this highly profound piece.

FireBug entrances audiences across the globe with their gripping live performances. Fusing a bold rock quality with rich New Orleans flavor, their unique style has attracted many loyal fans. This has led to huge accomplishments such as performing alongside icons such as Iggy Pop and Iron Maiden. The twosome is fearless in their unapologetic self-expression. That courageous musical nature seeps through in the intense passion of “Red, White and Blue.”

:: “What Does It Mean” – Gustaf ::

Ben Niesen, Pacific Northwest

The saying is to live life without regrets. But can you really call that living? That’s the counterpoint for Gustaf’s second album. A collection of critical self-examination, Package Pt. 2 follows-up the ironic, sarcastic debut that took the edge off with songs that put the edge right back on. Whether “Close” or “I Won” or “Weighing Me Down,” it’s not a metaphor to call these “cuts.” They actually cut, make incisions into the corpse bride of a breakup and pull out the guts of the relationship.

“So why not go and celebrate
What you gave me when you pushed me aside
I’m losing but I’m coming back slowly
I loved you —wait, that’s not right…”

“What does it mean?” Lydia Gammil cries the title line as she determines the viscera and pickles it in poetry. Ever still the acolytes of ESG, the gals behind Gustaf find funk in the jarring of angst; Melissa Lucciola and Tara Thiessen’s partnership in percussion remains potent like a slap across the face. Tine Hill’s bass and Vram Kherlopian’s guitar work in overdrive across the record, providing the angular sound endemic to New York’s post-punk scene since 1978.

It’s not all edges and blades, however, there’s moodiness too: “Here Hair” is a helpful dose of body positivity in all of this mess, a display that the band can soften and be lovers, not just fighters. But don’t get any ideas, or they’ll punch you in the mouth with keys between their knuckles on “Hard Hair.” And I’m pretty sure they won’t regret that.

:: “runaway” – Nashon ::

Grace Holtzclaw, Los Angeles, CA

Nashon is an exciting new artist making a bold jump from hip-hop to indie-punk on his electric new single “runaway.” Written about a relationship that feels more like an escape, “runaway” fills the ear with honeymoon phase haze. Have you ever felt pulled from the grips of reality in the throes of an intense romance? That’s exactly what Nashon gets at on his latest single chronicling a connection that’s so magnetic, it draws him away from the real world.

Over pounding undercurrents of percussion, high-soaring bass lines, and riveting riffs, “runaway” is a pigmented powerhouse that brings Nashon’s vision to life with unparalleled vibrancy. He sings, “I just wanna run away with you / Fly around the world in 80 days with you.” Filled with wanderlust desires and thrill-seeking sonics, “runaway” is an adrenaline-inducing saga that tells the story of Nashon’s former flame.

Originally from New Jersey and now based in California, Nashon is charging forward and exceeding all expectations. Priorly known for his hip-hop, “runaway” sparks a new era for Nashon as an emotive lyricist and vocal phenomenon.

:: “i haven’t felt like me” – PRONOUN ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Dramatic and dreamy, PRONOUN’s first single of the year is as vulnerable and exposed as it is utterly exhilarating. “So I guess this is over, I’ve officially blown it,” Alyse Vellturo sings over a hearty bass guitar and driving drums, her voice filled with raw feeling as effected guitar strums glisten in the background. It’s “a very first for me; a humbling moment,” she admits, adrift in a hazy funk of her own creation. The feelings she’s singing about may be foreign, but as a production, “i haven’t felt like me” feels warm and familiar: Like we’re re-living our own diary entry, brought to life through PRONOUN’s singular pop/rock vision.

replaying different outcomes
and the signs that i missed
the other one wasn’t about you
but i guess this one is

Vellturo has always poured her soul into her art, and “i haven’t felt like me” hits extra hard as she once again holds nothing back:

and what a silly way
to hand over the power
texting you too late
while im cleaning my shower
this is all too late now
and im gonna let it go
these are just a couple things
I wanted you to know
and get a load of you
forgetting my name
and get a load of me
forgetting to do the same
and i wanted to tell you
but it hurts when we speak
that since i messed this up
i haven’t felt like
i haven’t felt like me

“I wrote this on a drive back to Brooklyn from the holiday break in winter 2023/2024,” the singer, songwriter, and producer behind PRONOUN tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s about messing something up before it even started and feeling in limbo.”

The first single from PRONOUN’s next EP (set to release this summer), “i haven’t felt like me” is relentlessly wayward – and honest about it. Vellturo exposes her cracks and dwells in the uncertainty and instability, turning a moment of weakness and fragility – one we’ve all had – on its head and into a source of inspiration. Her words may ache, yet her chorus resonates as a buoy for all who’ve felt the same; it won’t be long before we’re all chanting “i haven’t felt like me” all summer long.

:: “Confusion Song” – Luna Li ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Luna Li’s woozy new single is, as Taylor Swift would say, a “nightmare dressed like a daydream.” Lilting sounds and lush production serve as an enchanting base for the multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter’s post-breakup upheaval in “Confusion Song,” a track that, true to its name, feels adrift and lost in a vast sea of emotions. The first look at the Li’s upcoming album When a Thought Grows Wings (out August 23rd via In Real Life / AWAL) aches with the weight of uncertainty as she basks in an ethereal, dreamlike soundscape, her heart heavy and aching.

Li describes her song as the stream of consciousness she (or rather, her mind) went through following a break-up. It’s that “denial your subconscious and body can have for a while when that one person won’t be in your life anymore,” she explains. These visceral experiences come to life in Li’s song:

I thought we were taking space
Held my heart in a suspended place
Never said that I missed your face
Can love regenerate?
How do you see it? How?
How do you see it? How?

“I wrote the original instrumental for ‘Confusion Song’ with Scott Zhang, aka Monsune, who co-produced this track with me,” Li tells Atwood Magazine. “We were in the studio together writing music in the summer of 2022 and I sat down at the keyboard and started playing this piano piece I had learned when I was 10 – ‘Prelude in Db major’ by Gliere – at a way faster tempo than it’s meant to be. Scott thought it sounded cool and he recorded it and put a drum sample against it. The keyboard part was in 3 and the drum part in 4, so it created this polyrhythm that was a bit complicated to write overtop of – jokingly, we named the session ‘Confusion Song.’”

“We built out the instrumental together, and then I went home and wrote the lyrics to the song. It ended up being about the haze you find yourself in after a breakup, when your subconscious hasn’t caught up to the fact that this person won’t be in your life anymore. Once it all came together, we just kept the title as ‘Confusion Song’ because it made sense with the lyrics. The final piece of the puzzle was bringing the song to Andrew Lappin, who helped us tighten up and finalize the production. I’m so honoured to have worked with two absolutely incredible producers on this song.”

Broke your heart into a million men
You’re falling back, I’m running way ahead
Do you really want to make your bed?
I don’t really want to wake up yet
I don’t really want to make up yet
Could you be the one to make amends?
I don’t really want to make a bet
I know you’re hurting, but I swear it’s for the
It’s for the best
How do you see it? How?
How do you see it? How?

While there’s no doubting the track’s compelling instrumental base – truly a creative work of art in its own right – it’s Li’s enchanting, intimate vocal performance that ultimately melts our hearts. No one tells you how to pick up your pieces, and that hole in your soul doesn’t mend easily – or fast. Her “Confusion Song” acknowledges this sense of swimming endlessly, lost in the grey. And while the narrator may not see the light, there’s no doubting how much this song shines. Welcome to summer 2024, Luna Li.

I thought we were taking space
Get your love to regenerate
I thought we were taking space
Get your heart to repopulate
How do you see it?
I thought we were taking space
How do you see it?
I thought we were taking space

:: “Nothing Else” – SACHA ::

Joe Beer, Surrey, UK

SACHA speaks about the perks of living a life where you’re not tied down to anything in his new live performance video of “Nothing Else.” Reminiscing on a time where he jumped from city to city, he recalls the enjoyment of just going with the flow and soaking up the freedom that came with it. The songwriter shares, “I was free flowing, moving from city to city on tour, working on music or just visiting friends and family. It was an incredible experience but it also shed a lot of light on how lonely I feel a lot of the time and for that, this song is precious to me.”

The incredible live video which was filmed in just one take, shows SACHA in his prime. Just him, his guitar and a couple bandmates, the intimate performance feels like you’re in the room with them, as the guitar strums penetrate through your body and the harmonies echo in your eardrums. “Nothing Else” is sincere and heartfelt, as SACHA gives us a taste of what to expect from his upcoming EP, CHANGE OF HEART, which is due for release later this year, and is said to present his most authentic work to date.

:: “Attention” – Noise Cans & Jesse Royal ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

A few minutes ago, as I write this, I was feeling relatively drowsy– I didn’t sleep so well last night, and teaching five sections of middle school Civics class each day can be rather… energy-depleting, let’s say. But wow – “Attention” definitely has definitely left me feeling tremendously more energized! Such is the effect of this shared project of two Caribbean musical masterminds– Jamaican singer Jesse Royal and Bermudean DJ/producer Noise Cans. It’s a poppin’ reggae-slash-EDM concoction, and the accompanying music video, filmed on location in Jamaica, captures the vibrant marketplace scenes on the island and features colorful imagery of a lady with a Bermudean Gombey mask, apparently a signature element of Noise Cans’ clips.

Both artists involved reacted positively to the finished product. “‘Attention’ is the perfect mixture of House music meets the Caribbean,” says Noise Cans. And Jesse Royal agreed: calling, “Attention” “easily one of the most fun songs I’ve recorded… [it’s] a love song with heavy drum patterns that still finds a way to converse with the heart.” Hopefully, audiences will react similarly to the new song and be amped up for the accompanying album, Many Moods Of Curtis, once it comes out in July.

:: “FREAKIN OUT” – blondestandard ::

Chloe Robinson, California

Falling in love can lead to a heap of intense feelings. There are so many highs and lows within that swirling vortex of intricate emotion. blondestandard’s “FREAKIN OUT” examines those complexities through the dynamics of falling for a musician. Her passionate vocals soar over an infectious beat to deliver a stirring tale of love and loss. The single is her reemergence into music after a two year long cancer battle. The song is also a testament to her immeasurable strength.

Caroline Grace, the brainchild behind blondestandard, is a Los Angeles native who was influenced early on by the city’s rich musical scene. Her dynamic alt-pop sound exudes an intimate rawness that instantly pulls us in. Not long after the release of her first two singles she received the tragic news of a cancer diagnosis. Instead of allowing herself to completely fall apart, she channeled that pain into this penetrating piece and it is definitely worth the listen.

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