Yours Truly

Until recently, I wouldn’t have guessed that the idea of a dude digging through sofa cushions for loose change would give me high school crush-type butterflies, but Andrew Balasia a.k.a. Gracie’s “Hood Rich” has done just that. According to him, the track is “an open love letter to whoever you spend payday with,” and its galloping electronic drums and oodles of kooky synths make me wanna spend every dollar I make on ice cream sundaes for everyone, forever. Gracie will unleash another single before summer’s over and record an LP after that. Until then, download “Hood Rich” and check out some New York dates below.

Saturday, July 26th @ 54 Knickerbocker – Brooklyn, New York

Monday, July 28th @ Cake Shop – New York, New York

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The Smoke pirouettes leisurely from her cigarette. For an instant it hangs in the air – as if grasping for something – before dissolving silently into the dark. You struggle to trace the smoke back to its origin. Eventually, it leads you to a porcelain figure that blends effortlessly into the dark room around her. From behind her slender frame, a neon sign reads “discotheque”. Written in a purposefully kitsch cursive, its errant flicker takes hold of you.

You’ve been here before. You’ve been here several times. It’s the same: the smoke, the lights, the girl.

My heart is tight, makes my blood go wild. 

This time, you say, it will be different. This time action will trump inaction. You anticipate the forced conversation, the awkward gestures. The minutes go by as faceless forms shuffle around you. Soon, you’re back where you started, smoke twirling around you. Your feet are heavy and it’s impossible to move now.

Your heart’s here, but your lips are so far away. 

Tomorrow you say. Tomorrow.

Yuko Yuko is a Netherlands based artist that creates 80’s inspired pop music. Their entire discography is available on bandcamp.

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Heart defeated, tears strike down your face. Energy doesn’t stand as an option and there’s no room for a fresh start. Body quivers, walking down the street where hands were first held. An autumn scent of crushed leaves fills your soul with hope that tomorrow will be better. The fallen branches only send reminders of what once was. Spirit gives every stem life, but once the season ends, the cold distance takes over any existing breath. At least we have blossoming to look forward to.

This will be the last time.

“Last Time” (produced by Sacred Animals) is taken from London-based newcomer, Blooms‘ debut EP, If. Available to download for a limited time here.

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Many people would simply fade into the background of a video that includes a live tiger and a shirtless dancer draped in streamers, but Minneapolis’ Lizzo isn’t one of them. The 26-year-old rapper’s ferocious eyes and commanding body language are enough to outshine her own head-to-toe gold jewelry and bedazzled McDonald’s box in this clip for “Bus Passes and Happy Meals,” which was directed by Annette Navarro. The standout track from her Lazerbeak-produced solo debut Lizzobangers features a soulfully-sung hook—I’m buryin’ y’all alive—that sounds less bombastic and more like plain fact alongside sharp-tongued verses which, as the visuals suggests, she could probably deliver in her sleep.

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Gilded wings touch down from the red eye. The seasons feel fresher when we’re on new ground. Saba’s HOTC TV directed video is spread smoothly between LA and Chicago hotspots. The staccato bounce of “Butter” nods to emerging sounds from both worlds. Jamila adds the syrup with her bridge. They love you, you’re here. They hate you, who cares. Let’s grease up and spend this summer baking in the sun. Saba’s new mixtape COMFORTzone is out July 15.

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Courses on the road were so naive. We were concurrently traveling everywhere and nowhere. There we lied on La Jolla Shores, our coats as blankets on the sand.  The day before, gazing across the sea at the Golden Gate. Jumping out of the van wondering what we’d encounter next. Touching feet while watching our best friends fade away into the shimmering waves, joyously smiling back.

It wouldn’t last forever, so we soaked every last instance until they drowned. You never know when any given second will be the last time. Treat each occasion like a precious spell, gathering steps taken.

Step into the breeze.

Roman Ruins‘ sophomore album, Source of Pride is available through Gold Robot Records. Meanest Man Contest transforms “Loved One” into fantasies suit for a summer full of wanderlust.

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A hasty charcoal sketch of a familiar face is done rushed on the white apartment wall. Artisan hands move rapidly to remember details from a faulty memory, while the black dust clings to fingers and smudges on hot, reddened cheeks. Drawing his eyes was never difficult in the past- are they smaller now than before? These feelings sparked by the brief glimpse of his face in a crowd. Previously appearing in color, this man has become a rough outline of a boy- King avriel knows far too well how this pain feels. A Rorschach test for the heart- deciphering past behavior proves now to be almost impossible. “Falling for caricatures/ just an idea/ just an idea of you,” she sings about a relationship rooted by desire, yet broken by the harsh reality of falling in love with a lie.

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With a discernable ear for the quiet conversations between strangers, Grumby collects vocal samples and percussions like charms on a charm bracelet in this new remix. His reworked beats spill out of car speakers into a street filled with partygoers on a hot summer night. People lean against parked cars, laughing softly into interested ears, while parted lips slowly unveil smiles. Using only the illumination of burning cigarettes and stars as a guide, listeners are carried on the cloud of Grumby’s strange new world. This remix of “Inside Voice” capitalizes on this somehow slow jam, yet dance heavy instrumentation that begs for movement. Having captured the collective essence of the original track by Joey Dosik, Grumby makes no apologies for injecting a heavy dose of seamless funk into this track that ignites feelings of joy and nostalgia for youth. 

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The light shines so brightly through the window cracks. Eyes squinting, my face is stuck in feather pillows, attempting to release anxiety-ridden thoughts crawling on the walls.  Why don’t I want to go outside like all the rest of the kids? There’s so much to explore. Another evening rolls around, what did I do today? Nothing. As my lids slowly shut, glimpses of the snake creep around my candle-lit bedroom. It’s back again, no escaping.

Existence needs defiance. We can’t seem to let go, even if it throws us into spiraling depths of darkness.

In my dreams I’m on a mountain with the greenest forestry. Vivid blossoms and herbs garnish the trails. There is no judgement or pain here. Glancing up to the skies, I close my eyes afresh. The snake is free.

Take a short break from your reality and listen to The Spookfish‘s new album Living Room. Available on cassette via Russian label Singapore Sling.

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The sun rises but she does not. Days worth of empty glasses clutter her nightstand, while ashes and resin cling to the surfaces between. Bottles splay on the floor, parallel to her stagnant limbs. Her lids flutter open, but the darkness remains. Day and night she speaks to herself with a voice unfamiliar, working through the layers shamed to secret and vowing to navigate where no one else dares.

The video for “Conversations” is the band’s take on Group Primary Accumulation, the 1973 performance piece by the celebrated American choreographer Trisha Brown. 

Woman’s Hour releases their debut album, ”Conversations,” July 15th on Secretly Canadian.

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Hours of patience and years of retrospect have reached an ultimate verdict. Moments pile up wondering what the next step shall be. Should you rest in comfort? That bed of roses you made isn’t so peaceful after all.

Boxes and bubble wrap tightly protect your fondest belongings. Panic strikes as final goodbyes are made. Sinking feelings of misery seizes every bodily vein while your ex drives away with the cat, but at last, independence is here. It swarms every step you make with a floral suitcase in hand. Ground appears as the plane wheels touch your destination. Springing through the terminal followed by a manic taxi ride unveils a new home. 7 am – dawn awaits with steps to a freshly painted front porch swing. Any sign of regret melts into the summer sun rising.

I felt lonely because of you, so I moved to the city.

Caroline Says‘ debut, 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong is available on cassette via Happenin Records and Noumenal Loom Records.

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Bathed in the nostalgia of another morning, you welcome the embrace of summer. The warmth of the sun gently pushes your mind from the present to a place far from it. A flash of anticipatory nostalgia blankets your thoughts. These are the moments you live for. These are the mornings that you will miss.

You are stirred back to consciousness by the rattle of a tambourine. The morning light is as comforting as ever. If only it could last forever! Your eyes follow the rays of sunshine as they pierce through your window and dance playfully on the floor. Time pauses for an instant.

With a renewed focus on the present, you are momentarily freed from your anxiety of the unknown. Aspirations distort our vision; we gaze too far forward. But you have always known the truth.

“Forever morning, forever we stay”

There are no tomorrows, only yesterdays.

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One half of the illustrious Shine 2009, Sami Suova’s first collection of solo songs are for the half-life of spring, for memories of Mediterranean flowers in the streets of New York, for helicopters up there every morning above the water towers. Shake off the deep twilight, smile a smile that’s folded inside of you coz you know paradise is made up of no other matter than that, than 3 days of kindness to each other, strung together, when we get a thousand of them all together, when we get on a roll. All the houses you’ve lived in you still live in, and you can travel back through them at night, but every morning now, some of the things you love will always be behind you.

Download the EP for just $4 here.

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Sinking deep into the corner of this couch at this silly party, my drink is creating a ring on an already ash-covered coffee table; I’m tired, sleepy, but somehow still so very aware, a fly on the wall. Everyone’s talking in slow motion, the lights are shimmering, smoke billows left and right, a couple just motioned each other upstairs. At this point of the party I would throw on Suicideyear‘s remix to Travi$ Scott’s “Upper Echelon.” It’s a mountain of energy subdued in cold pinging synths, muttered snares, and a constant synthetic fog. It does what the Baton Rouge producer does best: he takes massively hard hitting songs and flips them into cold, emotion-filled, neck-breaking, and bussin-down tracks. Versace heaven.

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“New Religion” begins with a shimmering church organ that builds and builds, maybe for just a bit too long, before the satisfying thud of a bass guitar, the crack of a snare and Mathieu Poulain’s stately baritone arrive to anchor the track. A native of Marseilles, Poulain hardly reveals a trace of an accent when he sings; he sounds about as French as John Wayne.

In fact, Poulain only reveals his casual relationship with the English language in the perplexing wording of his lyrics. They don’t feel clumsy; if anything the awkward phrasing is intriguing, little chinks of light that sneak through and keep us wondering how he’s searching for new meaning and a new beginning in response to what sounds like a nasty breakup. “Memorize maps of safer intimate borders” he cautions, before observing “I must have fallen asleep some place between a bride and a commercial break.”

Maybe I’m giving him too much credit and he’s really just shooting in the dark. Even if that’s the case, though, it doesn’t change the fact that “New Religion” is a pop gem. Surf guitars and sweet harmonies undercut Poulain’s struggle to reconcile his new single-hood, and his rich baritone is warm and welcoming. The song ends and you know that Poulain has reached some conclusion within himself…even if you didn’t follow him the whole way there.

Listen to New Religion, from his new LP The Start of Whatever, here.

Words by Max Savage.

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A few days ago, Yesway’s “Howlin’ Face” crept into the backdrop of another hectic day. Unassuming at first, it opens with light, arpeggiated notes from a guitar:

“Oh how the light keeps shifting”

Finally, it fades leaving only a trail of darkness in its wake. You grab at the night but realize nothing was ever there. Nevertheless, you push forward with uncertainty, mystified by the emptiness of your surroundings – your world. The rain begins, softly at first, but soon its rhythmic pattering has transformed into a torrential downpour, forcing you along an invisible path at an unnatural cadence.

“Don’t stop running”

The confusion of the blackness soon gives way to exuberance. Exuberance in the unyielding freedom you have found – the freedom you have always owned. How easily we have forgotten to read the signs around us. How quick we are to oppose the darkness, choosing instead to trudge blindly towards the light.

“Oh how the light keeps shifting”

But today, you have relinquished yourself to the unknown. And you emerge unscathed.

Bay Area duo Yesway is Emily Ritz and Kacey Johansing. They are set to self-release their first Album on June 3rd.

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Words such as ‘lose control’ prominently emerge when you’re at a breaking point. Blurred afternoons in a car speeding down the highway, taking everlasting drags from your favorite cigarette. Evenings where you embellish every part of your body to feel absolute vibrance. The luminous early hours where the only thought in mind is to untie any strings and gaze into lusty eyes. 5am subway rides home while a sun sneaks through lush clouds. Lying back in bed, all reality vanishes.

“Sibilant” is taken from USF‘s SIMISM album out June 24 on Ceremony.

Pre-order here.

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On ‘Pink Moons,’ Ed Schrader and Devlin Rice, aka Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, paint a hellish picture of a middle-school dance for grown-ups. “Sadie Hawkins every night,” Schrader intones like it’s a death sentence. If adolescent dances were marked by jerky, corny music and even jerkier dance moves, ‘Pink Moons’ updates the formula for a 20-somethings crowd too busy staring into the glow of their phone screens to make a move. A slinky bass line leads the way – it might even be sexy if not for the underlying awkwardness. “I will talk to anyone if nobody’s there,” Schrader says, his voice more Mourner’s Kaddish than Lil’ Jon.

‘Pink Moons’ is less spastic than the duo’s other songs, and way slower, too. Drums bounce around in your head, each one precise and clear. While Rice often chugs away on the bass, here he has boiled things down to their essentials – little buoys of notes that give the song some breathing room. Later he takes over and gets to play a melodic little solo for a couple measures. Like everything else in ‘Pink Moons,’ it’s awkward and disjointed. Good luck dancing along.

Words by Max Savage.

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A Weekend At The Feelies moved from somewhere in dry, dusty, and scorching Arizona to the cloudy, overcast, drizzly Seattle in the past year. Thankfully this brand new track “Lowly Buzzard” is like a beautiful, splendid amalgamation of both. With hazy feedback playing in the background, a steady drumbeat, and lead singer Jordan Campbell’s vocals drifting on top of everything, it feels like a lazy day at the beach. Except maybe this beach is in the Pacific Northwest, pebbles fitting in between your toes and the sun peaking out from the clouds only every 30 minutes. Stay tuned for more from A Weekend At The Feelies because I can’t stop pressing play.

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Running away from all known, the past was grasping on too tight. A note tucked under the feather pillow to find. Tiptoed across the once polished floors, leaving a now worn silver key in the door. Barefoot and ready to take flight, one last glance back for sentiment, she ascends into the mist. ‘Never going back’ she said. Craving the unknown, darkness approaches. Each step passes a glitch sensation and the thickness of the trees tried to swallow her virtue. Wind tries to pull her legs, branches tangled around arms. Breaking free after hours of struggle, destination finally awaits. The softest green grass blankets her feet as she slowly draws near an orphic spring. Jumping in, her favorite white dress clings to her skin as the water plunges every corner of thought. Opening eyes for one last time the mind enters a new infinity. All along they were white shadows, ‘dancing through my veins’.

“White Shadows” is from Lydia Ainsworth’s forthcoming Right From Real Part I, out on Arbutus Records. June 10th

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Last month, I turned 27, which probably makes me about a thousand years old as far as coolness goes. I still stain my bathroom sink with a different shade of hair dye every month and hit up the occasional warehouse party, but my idea of a good time now includes watching an episode of Chopped, popping a Melatonin and falling asleep before 10 PM. I’ll probably always spend too much time seeking out and devouring new music, but I’m beginning find great pleasure in sounds that transport me to a nostalgic, familiar place, rather than trying to stay on top of what the kids are listening to (is it Spooky Black?).

Enter Totoake’s jangly beach jam “Make It Work,” with sweet, angst-ridden vocals and an epic guitar bridge that send me back to my teenage days spent listening to Weezer’s Blue Album on my brother’s old boombox in the basement of my childhood home. Totoake is the bedroom project of Santa Cruz’s Elisha Kim, and the track was actually released last November on his excellent self-titled EP, which you can download for free on Bandcamp. I don’t care if it’s old news—I’m posting today because it’s gonna keep me young forever.

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