mp3: "Hotel Room" - Captain

words: Sarah Hojsak

Tilda Lindsey refuses to let the world’s inevitable heaviness keep her down. The musician behind the Cornwall-based lo-fi folk project Captain, Lindsey fights the weight of uncertainty with a quiet persistence to find clarity through the fog. “Hotel Room” is the first song Captain has shared from the upcoming EP In Bloom Again, due out tomorrow on UK label Fox Food Records. The song’s steady guitar builds a dependable foundation for Captain’s musings – sometimes muted and muddled with breath-catching restraint, yet never letting go of the astute sharpness that cuts through the haze. “I can feel the urge to waste / Heavy head and heavier legs,” Lindsey sings in a hushed voice, a whispered contemplation that later gives way to the assured prediction that “Maybe I’ll stop doing as I’m told.” 

mp3 premiere: "Carnivores" - The Young Couples

Think back to the first time you experienced heartbreak? When you're young it can be this all consuming feeling, and at times it comes in conflicting waves - the freedom of being on your own, the fear of being alone and the desire to wreck their heart as badly as they wrecked yours. The Young Couples put those feelings to song on "Carnivores," the latest track from their upcoming Dadstache release. The band is Ian Proper (ex-Sports) who is joined by a rotating cast of musicians from bands like Cherry Glazerr, Howlo, Pleistocene and more. On this track, Proper slickly maneuvers his way through love with a groovy, stylish power pop ballad that wouldn't seem out of place blasting forth on the dance floors in the 80s. It's a total throwback, shinning in part to Proper's swoon-worthy falsetto, which receives a perfect duo accompaniment from vocalist Katie Preston. "Carnivores" is the song you'd put on your breakup playlist for after hours cry sessions or attempts to hit the club and drown your sorrows in the arms of someone else. As Proper explains,

"Carnivores is a song about a person's first big romantic loss. I was trying to put myself in the head space of how that feels. It's a romantic feeling, but it can also can feel arrogant and slightly vengeful. These are the feelings of young love. 

This was the second song we recorded for the EP and the first featuring Katie Preston. Her vocals added so much, the counterpoint was crucial in the feeling of the song. Since the recording The Young Couples, as a live band featuring Beth Watson, Erick Perrine and Dylan Stock, have transformed the song into something that only can be experienced live. "

album: Veil - The Tissues

words: Justin Scholz

After many shows in the saturated landscape of LA and working seriously hard at perfecting their talents, The Tissues have birthed their debut LP, Veil in true DIY fashion: no label, all self funded and promoted by local friends, dj's & venues who know good music when it's blasted in their face. The dream scream band is founded and fronted by poet/author/ on-stage screamer Kristine Nevrose, guitarist Jerry Narrows (both of the former shoegaze/post punk LA band Flaamingos), Bianca Ayala on bass slappin' duties and Colette Arenas who pounds those drums like they did her wrong in a past life.

The album opener "Red light" grabs you with the essence of the early post punk days of yore, but in a style that you don’t often see represented in LA. Narrows's guitar work in the first 25 seconds tells you to get comfortable and pay attention while Nevrose whispers to bring you, before manically screaming to draw you even closer This theme holds true throughout its entirety while keeping each successive song an individual experience. These are love songs about a type of love that has yet to be defined or realized. Listening to the song "Time Travel" at the right time of day will make you feel like you're in a noir film stuck in fast forward. Influenced by bands like Pylon, Pixies, The Make-up and countless others, the lineage is left there for you to figure out. I find their sound reminiscent of the relatively unknown (in the US) and obscure The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club; instrumentally more than vocally.

Produced by Duane Burda and mastered by Narrows with input from the entire band, many hours of love were clocked in the making of Veil. Arenas recently said "It was just as hard as it was easy writing this record", which reinforces their dedication to their vision. Album artwork was done by Bianca in true DIY fashion. This is a polished listen without unnecessary overproduction.

EP: Catflap - Sobs

words: Michael Brooks

Catflap, the debut EP from Singapore trio Sobs, combines the pop instincts of Alvvays with the delicacy of Frankie Cosmos in the most blissful way imaginable, just in time for the current rush of warm days. Whereas most music tagged with “bedroom pop” feels isolated and hushed the music of Sobs is brimming with energy, the feeling of stepping outside on a beautiful summer’s day. Catflap is an impressively realized debut, earnestly drawing from a myriad of influences to create an intoxicating sound all their own.

Lead single “Girl”, a sugar-coated pop gem, exemplifies what makes their music so engaging. Sobs' music is that of a daydream, guiding the listener through a hazy mist of indestructible rhythms and candid sincerity. Melancholic lyrics are punctured by guitar grooves and snappy drums, balancing the intimacy of home recordings with the nostalgia soaked gleam of 80s pop. Closer “Ocean Song” mirrors the sound of waves splashing against the shore, recalling the sensation of coming up for air. Vocalist Celine Autumn’s lyrics, equal parts anxious and reflective, gently glide on top of her bandmates glossy instrumentals. On opener “Hunchback” Autumn professes “my head’s feeling warm/being irrational is a norm”. Likewise, on standout “Catflap”, jangly guitar lines weave in and out behind the vocals to a dizzying effect as Autumn sings “so many things I don’t care enough/too many things I care in proceeding amounts/sums up how I feel about myself”. 

video premiere: Wash Away - Maenads

"Wash Away" is a powerful debut video/single with an even more powerful message. A collage of moving images and pictures are pieced together, passing swiftly as the grungy, growling message of this newly formed Pittsburgh quartet plays out. "Wash Away" is gritty and powerful, beginning with a near haunting unhurried pacing before it blossoms and unfurls. The track closes in on you, enveloping you in beautiful thoughts and imagery and you need only surrender yourself over to absorb every second. As the band explains:

"The video for the first single, "Wash Away" is shot and edited entirely by Shani Banerjee; she deals with found family footage as well as personal films to challenge concepts steeped in being a woman of color, Bengali, and the child of immigrants in a time where the dismantling of toxicity in religion and societal structure can feel impossible."

Pick up a copy of the single here.

mp3: "The Moons Detriment" - Shannon Lay

photo: Abby Banks

photo: Abby Banks

You likely know Shannon Lay for her work with Feels, but she's returning back to her solo work with upcoming release, Living Water, out 9/22 via Mare/Woodsist. "The Moons Detriment" is the album's first single and it glows with pure beauty. While we're often used to the energy of Feels, this single is much more stripped down, Lay's vocals taking center stage in a track that's meant for moonlit nights and quiet contemplation. It's a moment where a whole lot can be heard and felt with very few words.

album: Melodrama - Lorde

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words: Nina Braca

Throughout the course of Lorde’s hypnotic sophomore album Melodrama, Ella turns heartache into songs you can dance (and cry) to. It catalogues the sloppiness of a breakup and everything that comes with it: emptiness, a fleeting feeling of freedom, followed by regret, and a million different revelations. And with each revelation and each stage of her healing, Lorde blessed us with musical masterpieces. “Microphone to my chest/ broadcast the boom boom boom boom and make ‘em all dance to it”  We weren’t really on a journey with Ella, but we were watching her heal from a distance, going through the raw emotions of a breakup, dancing along with her heartache. It’s deep and almost feels too personal, as if you’re reading the private diary of a stranger, but it's so raw and relatable that you can’t stop reading.

A lot of this album is filled with imagery or subtle references to New York City, where most of the album was written with Jack Antonoff. Ella throws around the ideas of subways and taxis in addition to late night strolls through empty streets, as seen in her Green Light music video. Ella takes the concept of an “emotional rollercoaster” and turns it into a less glamorized “emotional taxi ride” which is more or less a long, drawn-out ride of unexpected realizations. We’ve all been there, with Ella, crying in a taxi at some point in our lives. We just didn’t turn it into art the way she did.

In what is, in my opinion, the most pivotal part of the album, Ella articulated a familiar phrase :“in my head in my head I do everything right.” This hit me the hardest, since I tend to think that everything I do and say has to be right...right? That’s hardly ever the case. We are only given one perspective from a situation, and we always want to be right. When it comes to breakups and heartache, it’s hard to always be right. But Lorde did a good job at letting us know that she doesn’t have to be.

mp3: "Well" - Club Night

The music of Club Night is hard to pinpoint or categorize, and that's what makes it so special and perfect. Previous single "Rally" had us ready to skip off into the sunset and "Well" follows a similarly ecstatic attitude. From joyous, gleeful shouts and screams to the jolting percussion and even the whirling guitar, Club Night effortlessly pieces together each of these various elements into a wondrous, fantastical collage. It's a constant surprise of ever-changing directions and sounds, holding your attention with its colorful, energized spirit. "Well" is one of those moments where you leave feeling ready to toss away whatever plans you have and run headlong into the sun, chasing after everything and anything you dream. Hell Ya EP is out 8/25 on Tiny Engines.

mp3: "Suzie Wong" - Dama Scout

words: Sean Deveney

“Suzie Wong,” the lead track from Dama Scout’s self-titled EP sounds like it would fit in well in a Wes Anderson film soundtrack. The intro is delicate but builds in anticipation for the vocals. Singer Eva Liu’s words are loud and clear as they dominate the track with a reverb-laden guitar and punchy drums to back them up. The straightforward riffs, rhythms, and words all create a world of innocence that is reminiscent of a child’s daydream. The line “money disappears drowning in the sun” adds to the idyllic vision Dama Scout creates. Towards the end, the song briefly erupts in a strangely calm manner before concluding with Liu singing once again “Jesse’s in her head.” With “Suzie Wong,” Dama Scout takes us to a simple place because sometimes simplicity is where the best answers to complex problems are hiding.  Dama Scout EP is out 10 November on Hand In Hive.