Author’s Pick – BOY

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FEAR :: BOY :: Pop Rock

Let’s get this out of the way: I’m not posting WE WERE HERE (the lead single and obvious emotional standout from BOY’s second album) because I’ve been listening to it for months and probably so have anyone who’s ever heard of this band. Instead I’m posting the second track, a rollicking, guitar-backed number that triumphantly announces “all my love against your fear”, tugging at the heartstrings just as it forces a league of tapping feet. I was slow on the uptake with the album as a whole, but after this, I’m sure to check out the rest of BOY’s work. They’re the Swiss/German duo of vocalist Valeska Steiner and bassist Sonja Glass. Check them out, they deserve your attention. Sounds like: a sweet and layered combination of Sara Bareilles and Daughter

 

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Author’s Pick – JONES

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HOOPS :: JONES :: Alternative Pop

Am I allowed to post old music on here? Old as in less than a year? Well, that’s okay. JONES is a very slick and cool alternative pop artist working out of London, and her music is sweet and syrupy and quirky and very easy on the ears. HOOPS comes from her forthcoming debut album entitled New Skin, which releases on Oct 7. It’s a long wait, but if the material is anything like this, I’m more than willing to wait. Check out INDULGE and MELT as well; both are sensational soul-inflected singles that deserve more exposure come the release. And listen to this one again. It gets better and better, and her voice is honeyed goodness. Sounds like: Banks with a slightly brighter outlook, a female Josef Salvat, Beyoncé aims for an indie smash

Author’s Pick – Memoryhouse

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CAREGIVER :: Memoryhouse :: Dream Pop

I’m not a huge fan of dream pop as a whole; a fair amount of it has seemed a bit repetitive and uneventful to me, though I’m not one to generalize. Memoryhouse, though, stands out. It’s the Canadian duo of Evan and Denise. Their music consists of floating vocals that haunt the mind long after the first listen, skittering drums that recall shoegaze rock groups like Widowspeak and Daughter, and swirling synthesizer production that begs to be played aloud on a calm summer’s day. Be sure to check out their later work– their new album, Soft Hate, is quietly gorgeous. Sounds like: Daughter without the sense of mourning, Braids with a calmer tempo, a female-fronted Phoria

Author’s Pick – HOLYCHILD

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POWER PLAY (feat. RAC) :: HOLYCHILD :: Alternative Pop

Whenever I’m not listening to HOLYCHILD, I find myself wishing that I were. It helps that this incredible brat-pop duo– Liz and Louie of L.A. – have recently released a 5-track EP based around meticulously chosen features, including (be still my heart) MS MR, Kitten, Tkay Maidza, Mereki, and, yes, RAC. This is my favorite of their collaborations, a stomping and synth-driven pop number that pushes its own pulse faster and faster as the intensity of the lyrics grows. Sounds like: Kesha with intelligent and subversive lyrics, Priest on ecstasy, MS MR with a fuller and sweeter sound

Author’s Pick – Björk

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INNOCENCE :: Björk :: Electronic

Apple Music is a wonderful thing. You can download entire discographies for no price whatsoever, all at the click of a mouse. I did this with Björk’s stuff last week, and have spent the last fourteen days exploring all eight of her artistically brilliant and undeniably bombastic eight albums. This is my favorite track she has ever released. The first verse and chorus hit me hard– I can apply them easily to my personal life, my writing, and my overall way of life, ever since the onset of adulthood at 18. It’s a huge, synth-heavy, ridiculously powerful number, from her sixth album Volta. From least to most impressive (although all are worth at least one listen), I’d rank this Icelandic wunderkind’s works as follows: Biophilia, Vespertine, Volta, Debut, Post, Homogenic, Vulnicura, Medulla. The latter is entirely vocal-based, without a single live instrument within earshot. Mystical and mind-blowing. “Neurosis only attaches itself to fertile ground where it can flourish.”

High Five – 07/04/2016

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1. SCREAM MY NAME :: Tove Lo :: Alternative Pop

Honestly, this is futile. Everyone who’s on this page right now knows Tove Lo, and everyone who knows Tove Lo probably knows this song. But I’ve been away from RE for too long and I’m digging it right now. It boasts a fairly moody, tonally triumphant, and ultimately bone-crushing chorus featuring Tove’s trademark furious vocals. Her voice is an explosion, as usual. Crossing my fingers for another album this year. Sounds like: a Scandinavian Elohim, Grimes goes literal, a louder and more pop-centric Banks

2. YOU DON’T GET ME HIGH ANYMORE :: Phantogram :: Electronic

This should have been number one this week, but it’s late and I’m discombobulated. New York duo Phantogram, consisting of Josh and Sarah, makes a welcome return to dark electro (not to say their rap stuff was less striking, but it may have been less to my taste), tossing in a heap of hard rock and R&B to boot. I want to delete all the spaces in this song’s title and put a hashtag in front of it so it gains popularity. Isn’t that what the young ones do these days? Sounds like: a more upbeat GEMS, Giungla with a radio-friendly charm, Wolf Alice tosses in a handful of creative synths

3. I WANT YOU :: Marian Hill :: Alternative

Philadelphia duo Jeremy and Samantha released so much music this year it made my head spin. I consider myself lucky to have all 21 original tracks from them stored safely on my iPhone, and even luckier to have caught each single as it hit the blogosphere. This is one of my favorite tracks from their electro-jazz debut, ACT ONE. My true favorite, though, would be Sad Song. I can’t find a copy of that online, so I’m pouting. Hop on board. Sounds like: Ofelia K with lots of horns and drums, Kiiara without all the machinery, Allyson Ezell plus a few more inorganic materials

4. JONI :: Braids :: Alternative

If you do not like this band, goodbye. I attended a little intimate concert of theirs with my partner this summer, met the lead singer Raphaelle, and was thoroughly astounded by the live vocals. They are delightful, down-to-earth, and incredibly talented people. JONI is their best and latest effort. It’s worth a listen or five, and boasts some of the most beautiful lyrics I’ve ever heard. Sounds like: a fast and brighter Kaleida, Made in Heights with rock elements, Björk with a few more drops of pop

5. HUMMINGBIRD :: Kyla La Grange :: Alternative Pop

I was aware of Kyla’s presence before this release, but never paid much attention until this last string of singles. Jeez, what a banger. It’s an intricately produced and gorgeously written piece of music, sprinkled with claps and horns, that sticks in your head like glue. An album should be on its way in the near future. Sounds like: Noonie Bao, Charli XCX, and Cappa tossed into a big happy blender

Artist Interview – BISHAT

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A couple of months ago I reviewed Bishat, a rising alternative vocalist who deftly mixes genres such as R&B, electronica, and pop into her music (check out that review here). She recently released a sparkling acoustic rendition of her newest single, SOBER, and I had the pleasure of speaking with her over Facebook Messenger about her artistic process and beginnings. The acoustic version of SOBER will be available digitally on April 29th, and keep on the lookout for another release in May– I’ll put it up on here when available.

Rhythm Endlessly: First of all, I’m loving Sober and I’m glad it’s getting a heap of attention! It seems like the sort of song that’d have pretty widespread appeal, given its mix of different genres (R&B, electronica, etc.) So I was wondering, are there any other artists/media you drew influence from while Sober was first taking shape?

Bishat: Well, not really, I write about my own experiences and so that just came from me + the vibe we had going in the studio. The music came first with Sober and I just started singing and it came out really quick, but there are of course artists that influence me and everything I listen to. I guess you can trace bits of in my music from Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill to FKA Twigs, The Weeknd, Lana Del Rey and Flume.

RE: That makes a lot of sense. The two singles you’ve released so far don’t sound derivative of any other artist, which is obviously a sign of originality. I can definitely hear some Flume and Lana in your vocal style, though, which is certainly a compliment! Did you have a part in the production/instrumentals of Sober as well as the vocals?

B: Yeah, I was there the whole way through. I’m very hands on. A lot of the time I write something and do the foundation of the production in Logic and the bring it to my producers where we continue to work together. I need it to sound how I want it to, even if I don’t yet have all the technical skills to get it there, but i’m working on it. Though I love collaborating with others. I think having other to bounce ideas of and help push each other is the best way to create great music. It was a team effort, but the lyrics always come from me.

RE: I figured the lyrics were yours; they’re certainly personal/relatable enough! In the same vein, what brought about the creation of the acoustic version? How was that experience different from the original?

B: Happy to hear that! Well, the piano is my back to basics. That’s how I started writing songs in the first place, when I was 13 just sitting in front of my piano, playing other songs or improvising up stuff that eventually turned into songs. And when I write, regardless of if it’s in a session or I write on a beat or track, I like to play it on my piano at home, to feel it for what it is and see if it works, stripped of production. If it doesn’t feel good it’s not good enough. I think the melody should work just with a single instrument. Maybe old fashioned. But Sober felt good and I love how it became something completely different. I think you can relate to the heartache more. I love the production. It’s messy and raw which is great. You can dance to it and really care which the song is also about. Giving in, letting go… but acoustic it becomes more contemplative. Sorry for the long answer!

RE: No worries– it’s really cool to get a glimpse into your process/beginnings, especially in such detail. It really shows the effort and personality in your work. Any live performances so far?

B: Yeah, did one and have another coming up soon and then a few gigs this summer, but I really wanna get more tunes out there so you can go big. I love and hate live. I get so nervous, but once I’m on that stage there’s no better high. I can’t wait to get to travel and see new places and meet new people and share what i’ve been working on.

RE: I hope you get to that point soon; I’m sure the nervousness will fade a little as more gigs come and go (which I’m sure they will)! It sounds like you’re in a really good place musically (not to mention you seem a lot more humble/down-to-earth than a lot of the bigger names out there, which is always admirable). Speaking of “more tunes”, I have to ask: any original tracks/new releases on the horizon?

B: Aw, thanks! Yes, I do, should have a new tune out in May I’ll make sure to let you know when date is set and there’s more info.
RE: Can’t wait– would love to get word of that when the day comes around! Finally, is there any experience/emotion you’re trying to inspire with your music? In other words, what are you hoping your fans will take away from your work?
B: I want people to relate. I write ’cause that’s my form of therapy, and growing up I loved listening to music that made me feel like I wasn’t the only one going through whatever I was going through– whether that was heartache, euphoria, feeling like an outsider, racism or just growing pains, you know?
RE: Awesome. That’s all I got for you today! Thanks so much for talking, I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with next. So cool to see that music and its associations have always been really close to your heart– that’s what makes great art, after all!
B: Thanks so much- lovely to chat with you. Take care!