POETRY: Called Back Books

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

To help kick of YabYum’s increased coverage of the literary arts this year, our editorial staff decided to reach out to comrades-in-art and co-founders of Called Back Books, LM Rivera & Sharon Zetter.

Called Back Books came to life in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, but this avant-garde publishing house now calls Santa Fe home. To celebrate the launch of our POETRY series, we subjected the CBB team to some questions and they were kind enough to play along.

Before we get to the interview, however, Called Back Books offered this gift of poetry to share with all our YabYum readers. An extended sampler from the printed poetry of Called Back Books is available to you here for free preview/download/printing. Everyone should have more poetry in their lives. Called Back Books is here to answer that calling.

I had the chance to “chat” with the founders of Called Back Books recently, but first, make sure you get that digital download of your poetry sampler from Called Back Books (it’s 120 pages so consider that your workplace warning).

called back books 01

YabYum: I would imagine poets, like other writers, put a considerable amount of time and thought into the act of naming. I’m curious to know why you chose the name Called Back Books?

CBB: “Called back,” are the only words in Emily Dickinson’s last known letter–and they are engraved on her grave–and what would we be without her? Nearly nothing or, at least, much, much less. The master Susan Howe wrote a book called My Emily Dickinson, if she went out of her way to do this: we can at least tie our endeavor to Saint Dickinson.

What led you to the decision to launch a publishing house?

Habitual disappointment and disgust with the coeval thing called the contemporary. Also, the few kinships that have formed, the radiance of those kinships, and the lack, in relation to the exposure of those bonds (and others), in terms of so-called publishing (what we, idealistically, call THE BOOK). And, lastly, we wanted to hold the reigns (of composition and the formal structure) and let our authors say what goes and stays in their works (for obvious, personal, reasons).

called back books 11Who are some of the poets you’ve worked with (past/present/future) that really stood out for you personally?

Every writer we’ve worked with has been fire itself. We are especially addicted to our immediate poetic allies and their books (Colby Gillette’s WITHOUT REPAIR, Pablo Lopez’s NUMBERS, Adam Fagin’s THE SKY IS A HOWLING WILDERNESS BUT IT CAN’T HOWL WITH HEAVEN, and Gillian Olivia Blythe Hamel’s forthcoming occident (and more presently)).

And, as you know, we’re kicking off the Poet’s Corner? Poet’s Nook? The Poets Pocket? We thought it would be fun to have you tackle those questions before we force other poets through the ringer…

You are kind people. By which we mean to say: these monikers are much too quaint/sentimental for our taste. Something along the lines of POETS PRISON, THE POETS PURGATORY, OR THE BOOK OF QUESTIONABLE POETS AND THEIR DISCONTENT—this is more in line with our tendency…

called back books 13So, who are you and what do you do?

We are Sharon Zetter and LM RIVERA and we write, read, and publish poetry, prose, theory, collage, and anything worth taking in (anything that will have us)—occasionally hiding under the alias of Called Back Books.

What is poetry?

Any thing happening at the point after tzimzum (the infinite explosion) when language (Being) bursts from the vessel—or the disorder of the psyche mapping itself onto the language of personhood (like an eternal Celanian handshake). Jack Spicer, por vida!

Who or what are your influences?

For the sake of this discussion we’ll limit the list to ten poets: John Milton, Edmond Jabès, Rosmarie Waldrop, John Ashbery, Jay Wright, Frank O’Hara, Anne Carson, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Paul Celan.

But it would be sinful not to mention our shared personal literary Saint Figures: Franz Kafka, Fyodor Dostoevsky, William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, and Don Quixote.

called back books 12What are you reading?

Sharon is reading through Bolaño’s canon, currently Monsieur Pain, the pre-Socratic philosophers, and re-visiting Duras’ Malady of Death. LM is reading as many of Andre Bazin’s writings/books as possible, O’Connor’s Wise Blood, Avital Ronell’s Stupidity, and Cinema Scope.

What is your mantra?

When we hear words like “mantra” we also hear the Goebbels-like economy of propagandistic language and, also, that which Martin Amis describes (namely, the cliché’s war against writing) and we try, whenever possible, to oppose, fight against, and extinguish it. As good ol’ fashion Nietzscheans: we prefer to think of our thinking as transvaluative.

~

called back books 10 called back books 02

6 Rad Radio-Ready Singles

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Pink Slip

“Said it All”

Kyle Buckley, also known as Pink Slip, made the jump from Atlanta to Nashville, but his sound still holds some of that ATL slink in its slick production. “Said it All” comes to us from Pink Slip’s debut EP – Pink Hotel – which dropped last month. Pink Slip sets the soulful vocal stylings of featured artist Estef against some contemporary R&B bounce on “Said it All”. Make sure you give “Said it All” by Pink Slip a listen below and then delve into Pink Hotel (available here).

Addie Hamilton

“La La La”

Those kids who always seemed to possess a clear understanding of their calling early on (and had the talent to boot) always irritated me a little. They should have to fumble around with self-identity like all the rest of us, goddammit. Addie Hamilton is one of those. A teenage love affair with her grandmother’s record collection turned into a life’s work early on for Hamilton and now, at 21 years old, she already kicking out radio-ready gold with her new single, “La La La”. There’s a kittenish tinge to Addie Hamilton’s voice will put you in the mood for a Gatsby-style bash, champagne and flappers included, of course. Those jazzy vocals harken back to that record collection of Hamilton’s youth which included classics from Peggy Lee, Benny Goodman, and Eartha Kitt. Give “La La La” by Addie Hamilton a listen below…

Naah

“Worth It”

This chill chip-pop track from the Swedish artist known as Naah can turn your morning commute into the right kind of attitude adjustment if you need a little more shoulder shimmy in your day. Naah will help with that. “Worth It” creates a fun but zen atmosphere that will leave you feeling mellow. This is just the first single from the two track release, of the same title, so consider delving further into the offerings of Naah (available here). But, first, check out “Worth It” below…

 Flannel Albert

“aok”

This catchy new single from Flannel Albert (aka Albert Joo) could see some series spins at those backyard barbecues this coming summer. Flannel Albert , originally from Portland, jumped coasts and took his melodic rhyme style to Brooklyn, but I can still detect a bit of that West Coast easygoing attitude on “aok”. The track has an old school, kickback atmosphere and that video-game-reminiscent sound that starts off the single only adds to that nostalgia. Flannel Albert dropped this track while gearing up for tour. “aok” marks the first single from his forthcoming tape so keep watch for that release this Spring. In the meantime, check out “aok” below…

Lex One

“Let’s Get Lost”

Lex One might have earned his chops in the Miami underground hiphop scene, but it looks like he’s ready break mainstream. And this new single, “Let’s Get Lost”, will only help the cause. Lex One delivers a steady stream of lyrical musings on love and lust on “Let’s Get Lost” while Hellz Poet provides the super catchy hook.  Get lost with Lex One below…

Tim Hox

“One Big Race”

With a little help from 17-year-old vocalist Julia Rose, producer Tim Hox shaped out this club-ready moombahton number. Hox lays down a beat to get you moving while Rose has an alternatively smokey and lithe voice that will have you reaching for repeat. If Reggaeton is up your alley, “One Big Race” might be your new jam. You just might have so much fun on that first listen that you don’t notice the goal-oriented message that lies in the lyrics, but we all might benefit from paying attention. Give “One Big Race” a listen below…

7 Feisty New Singles

feisty New Singles 00

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Byron Hare

“Mary Efalump”

This garage rock number combines elements of blues and psych for a gritty sound that will stay with you long after you listen. “Mary Efalump” has the energy of a barroom brawl and a bit of a bad attitude – both of which serve to make the track just that much cooler. Don’t let the mellow intro lull you into thinking otherwise. This quintet out of Redditch (UK) recorded this single in a kitchen which so suits the raw power of “Mary Efalump”. Take the new single from Byron Hare for a spin below…

Beach Riot

“B.A.D.”

Well, hell yeah. Beach Riot doesn’t hold back on their new single, “B.A.D.” Right out the gate, the band starts hitting hard with its fuzzy alt-rock sound. Heavy guitars pair well with the restrained vocals. This London quartet sure knows how to pack a punch and apparently the aggression doesn’t stop with the rocknroll (see Twitter for proof). But you need the rowdy to make a Riot, right? Check out “B.A.D.” from Beach Riot below…

The Venomous Pinks

“Radar”

The feisty Tempe 4-piece known as The Venomous Pinks are gearing up to unleash a new EP through SquidHat Records out of Las Vegas. In prelude to that release, the Pinks offered up the single “Radar” – the closing track from the forthcoming EP, We Do It Better. These rowdy rockers have become a staple of the local punk scene so we’re always stoked to hear about a new album on the horizon. And this one looms ever-closer as that March 17th release date draws near. Head here to lock down that pre-order of We Do It Better from The Venomous Pinks. But, first, you can check out “Radar” below…

Ruby Bones

“Heart of Darkness”

I suppose I’ll listen to band that describes itself as, “Bruce Springsteen on cocaine after a few drags off a helium balloon.”  Their latest single, “Heart of Darkness”, certainly has a high energy charge, but my first thought wasn’t exactly Springsteen on cocaine. This NJ/Brooklyn band has all that raucous rocknroll energy mixed in with some of that NYsCene club-cool fuzz. Ruby Bones have a very modern indie rock sensibility that could easily carry the band to radio popularity. Check out “Heart of Darkness” by Ruby Bones below or head here for your own copy of the single so you can someday say you liked the band since that very first single (#streetcred).

Telempathy

“Dream Life”

If you miss those 90s grrrl rock singers like Juliana Hatfield or (early) Liz Phair, then you should definitely check out Telempathy. The singer-songwriter from Buffalo pairs brash guitars and lithe vocals for a spunky yet stripped-down sound. “Dream Life” is the second single from Telepathy’s debut release, Temple of Music, which is available through Soundcloud here. But, first, give “Dream Life” a listen below…

Iress

“Crown of Losers”

Few bands can nail brooding quite like Iress (formerly Iris). Chunky guitars and intentionally dispassionate vocals meet and merge on the band’s single, “Crown of Losers”, to create a melancholy atmosphere perfectly suited for all your inner angst. Formed near L.A. in 2010, Iress has been making their rounds on the city’s circuit and this year they’re planning on releasing their second EP. If you don’t yet know Iress, here’s your chance. Give “Crown of Losers” a spin below…

The Jesus Ponies

“Kar Krash”

The Jesus Ponies out of Tempe are gearing up for their debut release later this month and they released the single “Kar Krash” as a little taste of what’s to come. I must admit, the band has a pretty heavy sound for an album that’s titled Conditional Love Casino. The Jesus Ponies create an aggressive alt-rock that explores the borderlands near (without ever actually going full-on) metal. At least, not in this track. Give “Kar Krash” by The Jesus Ponies a listen below and then head here to secure that pre-order of the complete LP. The album will be available on translucent blue and black splattered vinyl, but only in limited quantities so get a’moving.

7 Funky New Jams

funky 00RILLAKILL & Brandyn Burnette

“The Freshest”

You might be familiar with producer Brandyn Burnette. After all, we’ve featured him on YabYum before so you should know him. Anyway, Burnette wrote this track on his 26th birthday and brought it to Rillakill to help bring the hit to life. “The Freshest” has that slick radio style that immediately gets you dancing and stays stuck in your head for days. Consider that your only warning. The crisp production and catchy hooks of “The Freshest” won’t let go of listeners. Give the single from Rillakill and Bradyn Burnette a listen below or head here for your very own digital copy.

Lucille Crew

“Something”

HipHop, funk, and electropop melt together in this banger from Lucille Crew, an international act that originated in Tel Aviv. “Something” grooves with club energy while the melody sticks to you like glue. Or sweat. The lushly layered monotone vocals really sold me though. Give “Something” from the Lucille Crew a listen below. This single is just a little sampling from their forthcoming album, Respect the Dawn, which is due out this Spring.

Berry Juice & Josh Tobias

“Creature of the Night”

Retro synths and a funky hook really make “Creature of the Night” sizzle. The single was produced in collaboration as an international undertaking combining the efforts of Amsterdam-based producer Berry Juice and Brooklyn-based vocalist Josh Tobias. Part of a two-track single that dropped last December (available here), “Creature of the Night” feels like driving through has just enough contemporary cool to keep the 80s throwback style from inflating your hair. Let’s hope “Creature of the Night” is just one of the many collaborative tracks that emerge from this partnership. Give the single a listen below…

Swindail

“Jussrite”

The Aussie artist known as Swindail has an uncommonly self-effacing attitude for a producer, but you can’t tell that from listening to his slick singles. “Jussright” mixes chill but upbeat energy with all the little textural niceties that take a track from amateur hour to totally pro. The vocal additions from SACHI and Naji help Swindail capture that breezy summertime vibe that defines “Jussrite”. If it’s winter here that means it’s summer Down Under, right? All of us above the equator get a a little while longer to learn all the words to “Jussrite” before we hear this single on those poolside playlists. Give the single from Swindail a spin below or head here to snag your own copy before those temperatures get turned up.

Black Giraffe

“Kansas”

This song is about two days spent driving cross-country to visit a dying friend. Somber, yes, but funky too. The Seattle trio known as Black Giraffe offers up a foxy R&B/rock sound that’s backed by a solid groove. There’s an added experimental layer that keeps things interesting in a modern way.  Give “Kansas” a spin below…

Unified Highway

“Are You That Somebody”

Unified Highway fuses the talents of Eric Rachmany (Rebelution vocalist/guitarist) and Amp Live (producer, DJ, remixer formerly of Zion I). The duo creates a kickback vibe on their new single, “Are You That Somebody”, with the help of a few musician friends. The track has a reggae twist but you can hear a melting pot of styles from electropop to soul and beyond. Meander down that Unified Highway with their track “Are You Somebody” below or get your very own copy here.

Dahj

“Size Up”

Chad Phillips is the Jamaican singer/producer/songwriter who performs under the moniker Dahj. His slinky new single “Size Up” fuses R&B, Dancehall, and HipHop for a fresh sound with island flavor. If you dig “Size Up”, I suggest checking out other singles available from Dahj. He only recently moved from the role of producer to center stage so he only has a few tracks under his belt. But fear not, Dahj is currently hard at work on his debut EP. Until then, enjoy “Size Up” below or head here to get your own digi-download.

7 Fresh Hiphop Singles

7 fresh 000Bodega Dream

“Polaroids”

Bodega Dream fuses psychedelic indie rock and old school hiphop on their politically charged single, “Polaroids”. The Brooklyn-based quartet originally from Miami contains some rather talented players. Darion Ray Kelley spits the pensive lyrics with a slightly aggressive air that reflects the current societal malaise many of us feel while the supporting musicality is vibrantly yet subtlety layered to draw the listener deep within. “Polaroids” is the second single from the band’s sophomore effort, EP 2. Give the new single by Bodega Dream a listen below…

Sidizen King

“Stuck in the Middle”

Relationships are funny. In fact, I could spend days (weeks, years) regaling you with humorous tales of my own blissful union, but this isn’t about me. Instead, I give you “Stuck in the Middle” from Sidizen King out of Los Angeles. It’s a He-Wants/She-Wants tale with an unexpected turning of the tables, all set to a slick beat and delivered in Sidizen King’s fluid, fun flow. Sidizen King just debuted his sound in 2016 and already he’s earned some notable accolades (including hitting #1 on HypeMachine twice last year). And it looks like he’s ready for another hit with “Stuck in the Middle”. Give the single a spin below…

Woes

“Blood”

The Chicago rapper known as Woes teamed up with Des Martin (bass) and Aaron Black (guitar) to give shape to “Blood”. The 2017 single hits hard with its raw, introspective lyrics, around which the song is built. Woes really stands out as a songwriter on “Blood” and gets personal about witnessing the trials faced by aging loved ones. Rather than going for a rap-rock style, the music on “Blood” has more of a traditional hiphop feel with the instrumentation standing in place of the usual beat/samples for a fresh sound. This single comes to us from Woes’ s/t 3-track release which dropped earlier this month. Give Woes a listen, but first, delve into “Blood” below…

D’Meetri

“Bitch”

Now, I don’t really go in for the misogynistic HipHop (and we get A LOT of those singles sent in), so don’t get prematurely dismissive over the title of this track. D’Meetri offers listeners a chill single that encourages a stiff-upper-lip attitude and discourages bitching about the problems in your life. Yeah, it’s that kind of “Bitch” and I really couldn’t think of a better time in history for this talk-off. We could all use a little more personal empowerment and a little less kvetching. “Bitch” also has a witty slant to the lyrics that really sold me on that first listen. Give the new single from D’Meetri (and produced by Nicolas Ludwig) a listen below…

Foursix

“Chill”

The NYC music collective known as Foursix recently dropped this laid back single appropriately titled, “Chill”. Those last few minutes before your grrrl (or guy) shows up for a romantic evening can be a brutal test of one’s patience, but I suggest just putting on this track so “Chill” can mellow you out while setting the mood. This single introduces producer and Foursix co-founder Jahnei on vocals along with Payso and Coach Wave. Check out “Chill” from Foursix below. If you dig “Chill”, I suggest checking out the collection from whence it came: 3016  which dropped on the 10th and its packed with ten tracks featuring the talents of the Foursix crew, including “Chill”.

Complex Theory

“Ambition”

The Chicago emcee known as Complex Theory cites influences as wide reaching as Wu Tang Clan and Sam Cooke. On his latest single, “Ambition”, Complex Theory reflects on some of the musical artists that inspired him to shape out his own sound. “Ambition” comes to us from Complex Theory’s sophomore release, 1 Day You’ll Understand, which is available through Soundcloud here. Give the single a spin below…

Mister Wise

“Man of Orange”

I have to be honest here. The Donald Trump diss tracks have been flowing in every day since that shitshow of an inauguration happened. However, it was Mister Wise’s “Man of Orange” that really stood out for its wry humor and thinly veiled aggression. Mister Wise outta Virginia keeps the beat simple and the focus on the sharp lyricism. Although, the most intense lines are often direct quotes. Now, that’s frightening. Give “Man of Orange” from Mister Wise a listen below and don’t lose sight of the struggle.

7 Stellar Singer-Songwriters

stellar singer 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Ivory Tusk

“Ripples”

The folk songwriter known as Ivory Tusk enchants listeners on his new single, “Ripples”. This single provides an engaging opening for Ivory Tusk’s recent release, Rising Lights, which came out on Jan. 8th. Ivory Tusk originates from Buenos Aires where he also recorded Rising Lights. His forthcoming release, Zephyr, due out later this year, was recorded in Nashville. Ivory Tusk is planning a European Tour this year, but we at YabYum are hoping still for a Phoenix stop to be added. Last time Ivory Tusk passed through he shared the Trunk Space stage with Justin Moody. Now, that I’d like to see. Until we get those tour dates, enjoy “Ripples” below and then head here to listen to the complete EP.**[See Note Below]

Lea Thomas

“Want for Nothing”

The smoky vocals of Lea Thomas drew me into “Want for Nothing” – the title track from her 2017 album.  Calm but in no way aloof, “Want for Nothing” manages to attain soothing and emotionally tumultuous in the same stanza. Originally from Maui, Thomas is Brooklyn-based these days. There is definitely a citified air to her sound, one more cloudy than sunny. I can get behind that. Check out “Want for Nothing” below and then head here for the complete LP.

Justin Levinson

“Homewrecking Machine”

Justin Levinson applies a 60s slant to contemporary indie pop for a refreshing, summertime sound. This East Coaster definitely has some California vibes buried in his heart of hearts. “Homewrecking Machine” carries some Beatles-esque motifs in the soundscape, including rich harmonies and uplifting energy. The single comes to us from Levinson’s 2017 release, Yes Man, so if you dig what you’re hearing, I suggest procuring the complete album for your personal collection (available here).

George Linton

“That’s Okay My Dear”

I’m totally enamored with the musical stylings of George Linton. This songwriter from the U.K. has a stripped down style that hinges on the storytelling of his songwriting. “That’s Okay My Dear” has a sweet-tempered sound to match its doting lyricism. Definitely spend some time with “That’s Okay My Dear” below. This demo track is a tremendously promising start for young Mr. Linton.

Nilu

“What I’m Looking For”

L.A.-based songbird Nilu offers up this simple and soulful single, “What I’m Looking For”. Only single guitar provides the stripped bare melody over which Nilu’s voice flies. Lithe and powerful, Nilu’s vocals define this track and make it shine. Check out “What I’m Looking For” by Nilu below and then head here to add the single to your own playlists.

Lewis Dalgliesh

“My Bluebird is a Storm Petrel”

Gah! What’s with this British songwriters totally ripping out my heart this week? “My Bluebird is a Storm Petrel” comes to us from Lewis Dalgliesh’s recent release, From a Journal, which was written over a seven month period while the songwriter was driving with companions from London to Cape Town. Yes, folks, driving. And, for those of you who aren’t sure where those places are, look at a goddamn map, you’re embarrassing the rest of us Americans. This single has a wayfaring air and a calm, pensive attitude. Just the sort of thing you would hope might emerge from traveling across the world. Listen to “My Bluebird is a Storm Petrel” below. From a Journal, in its entirety, can be found here.

Swan Levitt

“You Were Human”

Swan Levitt comes to us from Isle of Wight, UK – surprise, surprise. Apparently, it’s Brit Songwriter Day here at  YabYum and no one told me. Whatever. This song, like those that came before it, is a new gem in ancient tradition. “You Were Human” has some real emotive energy and a sci-fi slant, how could I not love that? Levitt goes beyond the guitar-and-vocals combo to add some vibrant but subtle textures that really elevate the track. Take the single for spin a below. The track is also available for your private collection here.

 

**Correction: There was an error in the piece so the original content was changed to reflect the correct information. Our bad.

7 Chill R&B Singles

chill 00Tameca Jones

“Hot and Bothered”

The soulful, sultry vocal stylings of Tameca Jones will awaken the disco queen that lives inside every one of us. The Austin-based songbird released “Hot and Bothered” from her debut EP, Naked, which came out earlier this year. Jones’s voice smolders then soars while the stellar musicianship will have you busting out your best John Travolta moves whether in your kitchen or at a club. Give “Hot and Bothered” a listen below and then head here for our very copy of Naked by Tameca Jones.

Unlike Pluto

“Someone New”

Unlike Pluto is the musical moniker of Armond Arabshahi, an Atlanta-raised/L.A.-based producer. This new single from Unlike Pluto starts off with a slinky, somewhat sludgy beat, but jazzier permutations kick in and it all comes together into one slick sound. “Someone New” features the vocal styles of Desi Valentine and some sick samples from 1950s jazz records. The single was released as part of a Monstercat compilation (available here). For more tracks from Unlike Pluto, head here.

 Emma Cole

“He Will”

Philadelphia’s Emma Cole packs a serious Motown punch on her new single, “He Will”. The retro-style backing vocals in no way diminish the soaring power of Cole’s own pipes and the vintage soul feel of the music will have you dancing before the first refrain kicks off. Fans of Old School R&B need look no further than Emma Cole. Take “He Will” for a spin below…

JPV

“S.O.S.”

Jean-Paul Viteri (or JPV, as he’s known to his friends) dropped this new single in hopes of seducing you in two languages. And it just might work. “S.O.S.” (produced by RDY Beats) offers listeners a contemporary R&B number, velvety and emotive, that speaks to the power of love in both English and Spanish and, of course, the universal language of music. Give “S.O.S.” by JPV a listen below and then get your own digi-download of the single for your personal nighttime collection here.

Meghan Gibbs

“How Do You Know?”

Brooklyn’s Meghan Gibbs has a breezy voice and a vintage charm, both of which you can hear on her single, “How Do You Know?” Stylistically, Gibbs goes for a throwback sound that harkens back to the early days of R&B. “How Do You Know?” is a dreamy number I can imagine listening to on a Zyon Wooden Retro Turntable back in the day when 45s were still a regular thing. Chill out with the mellow single “How Do You Know?” by Meghan Gibbs below, then score your own copy here.

Morgan St. Jean

“Out of Love”

The emotive power of Morgan St. Jean immediately captured my attention when “Out of Love” first crossed my path. By the end of that first listen, I was one shot of tequila away from total emotional collapse. The L.A.-based songstress takes sentiment and elevates it to desperate heights with the authenticity of her performance. Let “Out of Love” by Morgan St. Jean break your heart. Listen below and then add the track to your breakup playlist (available for purchase here).

Queen Novah

“Lies”

Ever feel let down when you get drawn into a relationship with someone who isn’t ready for a relationship? Then this song is for you. Queen Novah lays out her romantic disappointments with a smooth and sultry voice. My only complaint is the strange squeaky noise that is incorporated to the beat. It sorta sounds like the illicit confessions of a bedframe, but I’ll forgive the squeak because of the mellow vibe and stellar vocals. This is a promising start for Queen Novah. Give “Lies” a listen below…

3 Eclectic Pop Albums

Eclectic Pop albums 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

lost valley

lost valley

Brooklyn’s lost valley proves you can do a little with a lot. On his self-titled debut, you’ll find 11 stripped-down tracks of some of the best bedroom pop I’ve heard in quite some time. “ctl” kicks off the release with something a little playful despite being mildly depressing before “wasterluv” ups the angst.  There’s a lot of variance on lost valley while maintain a distinctive and unified sound. “fried chx” takes an indie-folk approach while “sandhill dr.” touches upon some drone. “julie” offers ruminating track tinged by love before “in my solitude (duke ellington)” closes out lost valley with an experimental edge. Listen to lost valley here…

Harper and the Moths

Mixtape

Harper and the Moths takes their love of 80s synth pop to a whole new level on Mixtape; a collection of covers from the Phoenix act known for their New Wave flair. Almost forgotten hits are given new life on this EP like Timex Social Club’s “Rumors” or Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me”. Personally, I’m quite taken with “West End Girls” even though Aha’s “Take On Me” was an integral part of my music-listening development as a child so it also has a special place in my heart. Mixtape was released as a Halloween treat for fans of Harper and the Moths, but I suspect the band might draw in a lot of new listeners with this amalgamation of cover tracks. Listen to Mixtape by Harper and the Moths, and if you like what you’re hearing, delve into the band’s original songs from earlier releases.

Henry Hall

My Friends Don’t Like Me

NYC-based musician Henry Hall blurs indie rock and pop on his latest EP, My Friends Don’t Like Me. And, much like the title of the release implies, Hall invokes a sly wit that often turns toward self-depreciation in his lyrics. When you pair that lyrical prowess with the effervescent feel of the melodies and Hall’s lively and lithe falsetto, the result is infectious. “Comfort Zone”, the first single and opening track from his EP, introduces the buoyant energy that carries through the rest of the songs. “Company” achieves ethereal harmonic heights while “Wyoming” provides a dreamy vision of open prairies. I love when musicians are able to add humor to their songs without sacrificing, you know, the music. Henry Hill does just that. Give My Friends Don’t Like Me a listen below.

7 Emerging Singer Songwriters

 Kyle Morton

“Survivalist Fantasy”

Perhaps you’ve encountered the music of Kyle Morton before through the work of the Portland post-pop act, Typhoon? If not, don’t worry. This single from Morton’s debut solo album will secure your future fandom as Morton emerges as a singer-songwriter in his own right. A dark and pensive meandering through a post-apocalyptic dream, “Survivalist Fantasy” is a new personal favorite. Morton has locked down at least 5k Spotify plays from me in the coming months. Listen to the single here and then continue on to Kyle Morton’s full-length release, What Will Destroy You. Oh, if the strange outro creeps you out, just start the track over and the beauty will distract you from your fears.

Alycia Lang

“The Windowsill”

It’s not really appropriate to categorize Alycia Lang as an “emerging” songwriter considering she’s already earned her chops in bands like Waterstrider, Trails and Ways, and BOWS. But this single does mark a departure from her band status as Lang embarks on this solo endeavor so, in that sense, she is emerging as an artist in her own right. And, what a way to come out swinging, metaphorically speaking. “The Windowsill” is a breathtaking number; a moment of reflection encased in glass. This single proves a promising (new) start for Alycia Lang.

Tim de Vil & His Imaginary Friends

“Who’s Afraid of Sarah Little?”

Clever and a little doleful, the lyrical content of this new single from Tim de Vil & His Imaginary Friends burrows into the listener, festering long after those final chords. Of course, if you’re wondering who Tim de Vil is, keep wondering. The band consists of Justin Robbins (vocals/guitar), TJ Reed (Bass), and Bradley Stell (Drums) so the songwriting duties do not fall to this mysterious Tim de Vil.  From start to finish, a detached voice offers the listeners glimpses of inner turmoil that resides beneath the surface, vacillating between a singsong speech and a quietly mounting desperation. Listen to “Who’s Afraid of Sarah Little?” below…

Alyeska

“EverGlow”

The L.A.-based act known as Alyeska was formed by nineteen-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist Alaska Reid. Reid joined forces with Ben Spear (drummer) and Enzo Scardapane (guitar/bass) and began shaping their dynamic sound. Ethereal vocals converge with brooding guitars on “EverGlow” and the effect is bewitching. Minimal texturing swells to an electric fullness and then ebbs again. This track came out earlier this year so let’s hope there’s something new from Alyeska on the horizon. In the meantime, listen to “EverGlow” here and, if you dig it, delve further into the band’s Soundcloud offerings.

Jeanette Lynne

“11:11”

Jeannette Lynn has a voice that is both earnest and lithe. That combo serves as a great vehicle for her heartfelt lyrics. The single, “11:11”, comes to us from Lynne’s sophomore effort, Rabbit’s Foot, which was released over the summer. An acoustic guitar is the only accompaniment needed because the rich vocal layers provide all the texturing you need. Jeanette Lynne hails from Philadelphia so we’re hoping she has Westward tour plans brewing. Check out “11:11” below and, if you like what you’re hearing, consider procuring your own copy of Rabbit’s Foot here.

Rue Snider

“Stories”

Brooklyn-based singer-songwritere Rue Snider crafts a “love song to women who read books” on his new single, “Stories”. The track comes to us from Snider’s sophomore effort, Broken Window, which was released in October. The stripped down delivery of “Stories” pairs nicely with Rue Snider’s crisp, clear voice and gentle melody. Check out “Stories” below and consider that digital download of Broken Window for your personal collection (available here).

Katie Ferrara

“In Your Arms”

L.A.-based singer-songwriter Katie Ferrara creates a soothing and simple number with “In Your Arms”, the first single from her forthcoming EP. The track takes on a romantic hue that perfectly suits the sweet-tempered vocals of Ferrara. The new EP, Dream Catcher came out on October 22nd so you can score your own copy here. But, first, enjoy the single, “In Your Arms”, by Katie Ferrara below…

7 Stellar Indie Singles

stellar indie 00

Farewell Teddy

“Huxley, Party of One”

Sifting through the sea of mediocre submissions can suddenly seem very worthwhile once you stumble across that really special track. “Huxley, Party of One” from Atlanta’s Farewell Teddy was just that track today. It sneaks up on you and, before you know it, you’re caught in the swell. This indie-rock duo consists of James Daniel Brown and Nathaniel David and this stellar single comes to us from Farewell Teddy’s full-length debut, Brave New World’s Fair. You can bet your sweet dollar I plan on spending some time with that release. So good. So so good.

Clear Plastic Masks

“Take a Little Drag”

Nashville 4-piece Clear Plastic Masks has released their second album, Nazi Holograms (really), and their first single is this somber little number. “Take a Little Drag” embodies an emotional space of calm resignation, like that first cigarette of the morning as you brace yourself for the day. Despite the name, Nazi Holograms is an album worth checking out, as this single surely indicates. Just expect things to be a bit more rowdy overall. Listen to “Take a Little Drag” below…

Praything

“Soon Soon”

Brooklyn resident Ju Kovacevich, who creates music under the moniker Praything, is re-releasing his single “Soon Soon” through Loose Narrative. The song draws our attention to the quiet moments of beauty that construct our day to day existence. With its tranquil musicality and pensive lyricism, “Soon Soon” is bound to become one of those moments of beauty that the song speaks about. This dream pop number fills the listener with a sense of meditative splendor even on those darker days. Listen to “Soon Soon” by Praything here…

Rachel Faith

“11:09 p.m. (Bad People Wasting My Good Time)”

Chicago-based musician Rachel Faith sets out a simple beat and melodically rides the wave on “11:09 p.m. (Bad People Wasting My Good Time)”, her entrancing new single. Although the track is tagged “electronic pop”, Faith has a HipHop slant to her instrumentation (or lack thereof) and an R&B vibe to her voice. Rachel wrote and produced this single all by her lonesome and I think this song speaks volume of just how much can be done with so little. It doesn’t take heavy-handed production or glitzy layers of sound to make a decent pop song. All you need is a solid rhythm, some lyrical prowess, and a voice that can entrance the listener. Rachel Faith has all three on lockdown. Listen to “11:09 p.m. (Bad People Wasting My Good Time)” below…

Night Drifting

“Disappearing Love”

Based out of Claremont, CA, Night Drifting is the brainchild of Amit Pandey. His single, “Disappearing Love”, is brooding and tinged with nostalgia – the kind that finds you at a roadside diner in the middle of the night. Powerful vocals merged with a hazy soup of sound for a stellar song made for late-night drives. Pandey undertook Night Drifting “as a means to continue music non-stop” so expect more tracks to come. In the meantime, enjoy “Disappearing Love” below…

Bartholin

“Paraphones”

A paraphone, for those who are wondering, is a paranormal communication, usually directed at the “other side”. A bit apropos considering the haunting musicality of Bartholin, the musical collaboration between Drew Danburry and Cat Leavy. “Paraphones” drifts around the listener before taking hold and dragging them down into the depths of the subconscious. This single comes to us from the duo’s new EP which came out in September through Tree Machine Records. Listen to “Paraphones” here and, if you like what you’re hearing, make sure you check out the new EP from Bartholin as well.

The Captain’s Son

“Walking Around Purposefully”

If The Captain’s Son is any indication of what Springfield, MO has to offer by way of music, I might have to add another dot to my road trip map. This indie rock act combines a summery melody to a vocal style that vacillates from disinterested to agitated and back again. “Walking Around Purposefully” comes to us from the band’s s/t debut album which came out earlier this year. Check out the single below, then delve further into The Captain’s Son…