The Ghost of Helags
“Under My Skin”
“Out of the Fog”
Ben Zaidi certainly has as promising a start as any artist could hope for. After growing up in Seattle, Zaidi moved to New York City before attending Harvard University to study music and creative writing. The new single from the artist, “Irene”, is soulful and soft-spoken. The minimal texturing keeps the track’s focus where it belongs: on Zaidi’s subtly emotive voice and the poetic narrative within his lyrics. This is definitely a songwriter to watch. Give “Irene” a spin below and, if you like what you’re hearing, delve further into Ben Zaidi’s online musical offerings through Soundcloud here.
Singer-songwriter Julia Lucille might be a California native, but she spent time in Portland studying music at Lewis and Clark College before moving to Austin, where she currently resides. I can definitely see Lucille’s ambient-folk sound doing well in any one of the aforementioned locations. There is a desolation that can be heard on “Eternally” that denotes a Western sensibility – something a little mystical yet still a little hopeless. “Eternally” comes to us from Julia Lucille’s forthcoming album, Chthonic, which comes out on April 7th so mark your calendar. Before that happens, sink down into “Eternally” below…
Jordan Prince made the jump over the Big Pond, bringing his Louisiana folk all the way to Munich, Germany. His new single, “Woman (One of These Days)”, comes to us from Prince’s upcoming ep, No Manual. I love the simple, earthy sound and easygoing attitude. The lyrics don’t really describe your typical romantic sentiments, as the title might suggest. Instead, the author suggests the subject delves even further into “man’s perverted obsessions, and how he can’t control or forgive his own guilt as he becomes self aware of his action.” Despite the weighty topic, Jordan Prince keeps his melody lithe. Listen to “Woman (One of These Days)” below…
This Costa Mesa artist has a distinctly coastal vibe in his indie-folk sound. Stevie Talks claims “Pollyanna” is about “a girl [he] cannot stand” but I think the songwriter might be a little conflicted on that particular point. In the same breath, “Pollyanna” comes across as anguished and wistful, but with enough bounce to keep the mood light. Give the single a spin below and, if you like the summery sound of Stevie Talks, you can move on to his previous single “LYM (Leave Your Man)” which came out a few months back. Let’s hope more songs are on the way.
The North London singer-songwriter who goes simply by the moniker Sasha creates ambient dreamscapes of sound. On her new single, “Gracious”, Sasha sets her nimble voice afloat the gentle current of a stark yet beautiful arrangement. “Gracious” is the perfect song for a mellow and meditative morning. Or perhaps you can find four minutes to zen out with the single before launching into your litany of tasks for the day. I can almost guarantee a calmer sense of being will stay with you throughout the rest of the day. Listen to “Gracious” below…
The Swedish musician known as Alessandra not only wrote and performed her new single, but she also produced the track. That’s rather ambitious for any young artist, but Alessandra pulls off the feat with great success. On “The River”, powerful vocals are met with equal energy from the underlying soundscape. “Your River” marks the first single from Alessandra’s soon-to-be-released debut EP. This emotive number centers on an experience of bittersweet summer love. And, for anyone who’s been there, you feel the sudden return of those heart-wrenching highs and lows as you listen to “Your River”. Which you should do. Right now.
London singer-songwriter Carmen Rosa is gearing up to release her debut EP with this new single. “Wild One” combines smokey vocals with an aural landscape that has a cinematic feel. I can easily imagine this song playing as a dramatic scene carries out on the silver screen with slinky satin dresses and plenty cigarette smoke. This is a promising start for the EP to come from Carmen Rosa which should be available next week (March 31) through Hometown Records. Until then, enjoy “Wild One” below…
Hey Melbourne, I think someone needs to hug Daniel Trakell. Or maybe several someones. “Paradise” is the most beautifully depressing, elusively suicidal thing I’ve heard since Elliott Smith’s posthumously released New Moon – I can’t stop listening and it breaks my heart every single time I hear it. There is a sublime peace at the core of “Paradise” that is carried in Trakell’s voice. The artist sought a “deliberately funereal feel” and I guess it was a success. I want this song played at my funeral. The complete EP, which shares its name with this single, comes out on March 24th. Before that happens, listen to “Paradise” below so you can share in the anticipation.
The Portland indie act known as Candy Cigarettes released this single earlier this year and I’ve amassed quite a few listens since then. “Stockholm” kicks of with an indie-folk sound before moving into more dream pop terrain and back again. The song presents a strange sense of isolation or, maybe not so strange, considering Candy Cigarettes is the solo effort of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, Lane Mueller. As you move through “Stockholm” it will probably surprise you when you remember that this track is the creation of only one artist. This song isn’t quite as brooding as others, but it is no less meditative. Check out “Stockholm” from Candy Cigarettes below…
Willetta released a collection songs earlier this month, and if you haven’t already taken a swim through the cool, murky waters of Frisson, you should. “Books”, the middle child of this three-track, proved my favorite, and for more than just the personal obvious affinity for its title and narrative. On this single, Anna shares both a gravitas weight and gossamer lightness which her voice is capable of in full splendor. Implementing both aspects helps give to shape the emotionally complex soundscapes that define Willetta’s drone-folk sound. This song, like others from Willetta, present more of a thinkpiece rather than a traditional “single” so plan on repeat listens. Sink into “Books” below and then check out Frisson (available here).
I don’t know what I found most compelling about this new single from Ontario’s Timid, the Brave: the understated beauty of the music or the emotional depth of the lyrics. Tim Selles, the musician behind Timid, the Brave, wrote the song “Alice” after his grandmother passed away. According to the artist, “Alice” is “a song about love and life and death, and finding a way to fight through the varying levels of devastation that we all experience.” That seems like a hefty order to fill, but Timid, the Brave does just that with such grace you won’t even notice the sorrow that’s carved out a chink in your chest. At least, not immediately. This track comes to us from the album Firesale which Timid, the Brave released on Feb. 24th through Other Songs, an independent label based out of Ontario.
L.A. lass Jesse Jo Stark might be a relative newcomer on the scene, but she’s been locking down new fans fast with her single, “Driftwood”. Stark’s voice clambers from brooding depths to uplifting heights with the easy grace of a mountain goat. There is something earthy and authentic that one might not expect from the likes of a longtime La La Land resident. Rather than going for the glitz, Stark keeps it simple and honest as she delves the seemingly aimless intentions of love. Stark co-wrote “Driftwood” with Jonathan Rice who you might know from his work with Jenny Lewis. Rice also produced the single. I’m certainly hoping this song only marks the beginning for Jesse Jo Stark and more tracks follow soon. Until then, give “Driftwood” a spin below…
This indie-rock duo from the Ukraine crafts out a dreamy but melancholy sound on “I Can Feel You”. The instrumentation on this single has an ethereal air that is met with muted vocals. Nothing grating or jarring will abscond your sense of inner peace as you float on the gentle waters of “I Can Feel You”. This single comes to us from The Elephants’ 10-track LP, Colors, which is available here. Give “I Can Feel You” a spin below and follow up the full release.
We dig the roots rock music of Skin & Bones and first featured them back in November last year. And now, the Cali-duo is back with a new number. “Lightless Star” still has that blues-rock feel that drives the band’s sound, but this single is a little more mellow and a little more passionate. I guess one should expect as much from a song somewhat inspired by the poem “For the Anniversary of My Death” by W.S. Merwin [see here]. Give “Lightless Star” a listen below…
by Carly Schorman
“I’ll Show You” is the second single from King Magnetic’s sophomore effort, Everything Happens for a Reason, which drops later this month. The beat has a kickback vibe that sits well with the serious tone of the rhyme style. “I’ll Show You” also features the musical stylings of Wu-Tang’s Cappadonna who will be touring with King Magnetic following the release of his new LP. Make sure you keep watch for the March 31st release of Everything Happens for a Reason and, until then, enjoy “I’ll Show You” from King Magnetic below…
The San Diego duo known as Clean/Cut dropped their new EP last week which features this snappy single, “Feel Something”. Clean/Cut have a crisp lyrical style that pairs well with the electro-pop underpinnings of the instrumentation on this track. The lyrical content takes a critical look at life in the post-human era of tindr and fancied-up coffee and disaffection. Don’t worry, “Feel Something” has some hope tucked away in beyond its existential angst. Give the single from Clean/Cut a listen below &/or head here for the complete EP.
This latest single from Afika Nx is all-around awesome. From the Caribbean-influence on the minimal beat to the touching lyrics that pay tribute to the artist’s mother, “Oh Mama” has an easygoing atmosphere filled with all the love and appreciation kids feel for their single moms, mine included. Spend some time with “Oh Mama” by Afika Nx and then, if you can, give your mother a call. She probably misses you and you probably miss her too.
This Michigan-based emcee (by way of Japan and California) has a pensive rhyme style that addresses the uncertainty that accompanies the life of an artist. Ollie Joseph might be relatively knew to the music-making game but he’s got some real potential as a songwriter. “Whatever Happens” was produced by Siren, who also worked with Ollie Joseph on his debut single. The track also features the vocal stylings of Alexa Lusader. Give “Whatever Happens” by Ollie Joseph a listen below…
The Chicago rapper known as Woes certainly holds up to his name. On his new single, Woes dives down to reach emotional depths and reports back his findings with refreshing honest. “Whiskey” combines a simple (and chill) beat with the contemplative discourse of Woes’ vocals. The track was produced by Mitch Geist and features the musical guests Aaron Black (additional vocals) and Des Martin (bass). Give the single a spin below…
Lee Black’s new EP, Who is Lee Black?, drops tomorrow but the L.A. emcee offered up this single as a little taste of what’s to come. A steady beat with some of that West Coast slink lays the groundwork for Black’s stellar lyrical delivery. If you hone in on the lyrics, you’ll find an ambitious push toward your better self. If you phase out here and there, you might think Lee Black is someone you don’t want to fuck with [i.e.,”killing off all that weak shit, bury it under cement”]. Give “Body Bag” from Lee Black a spin below. The EP drops tomorrow!
This short number clocks in at under two minutes, but King Wish manages to pack a lot of love-lost remorse into that time. “Amber Alert” usually refers to a child-abduction, but in this case, we’re dealing a different type of tragedy: the break-up kind. This single, which was produced by Young Tay, dropped last month. Since that time, King Wish has been keeping busy and already has a couple new slick singles to share with fans available. Check out “Amber Alert” below and then consider delving further into the online song offerings from King Wish.