Featured Music of the Week: The Strive For Growth

Check out our featured picks for the week!

“Same Team,” by Alice Merton: Fixing a solid placement in the Top 10 Charts across Europe, this artist’s debut album, MINT, saw the Berlin-based musician achieve phenomenal success. Accumulating one billion streams worldwide, she is set for wider international recognition as she prepares to release her eagerly anticipated sophomore album, S.I.D.E.S, out on June 17th on her own label, Paper Plane Records.

This single remains grounded in her alt. pop roots and sound that she’s become well known for; and in its core, the crunchy beat that inlays the soul of the track creates an addictive tendency that will leave listeners begging for more. It’s wrapped within more subversive layers: a jolting, electro-meets-industrial explosion of energy, an ominous, brooding ambience that complements its existential issues.

‘Same Team’ is one of the first songs I wrote for the album. I had been going through a lot of personal and work-related conflicts. I felt like I had been pulled into worlds that I didn’t understand, and having conversations with people in which we just didn’t speak the same language. A team goes through ups and downs, but often pulls together to become even stronger-but in some cases it does the exact opposite. I started to question: what do Ido if that team makes me doubt myself and the decisions that we make?

~ Alice Merton

“When I’m Home,” by Like Mint. : The Berliner by choice, Susi Wittig — alias “Like Mint”– is originally from the mountainous Erzgebirge, and grew up with music at an early age. She started learning the violin when she was 6 and played and sang in church choirs and school orchestras until she was a teenager. When she taught herself to play the guitar, she learned about the music of singer-songwriters and folk. While living abroad for a year in the United States, her love for this kind of music was solidified and carried over into her own way of writing.

Like Mint shows and tells us stories, emotions, situations. However, she doesn’t overwhelm you with her feelings, but leaves space for your own experience. When meeting the audience, a conversation arises that leaves room for the listener.

‘When I’m Home’ is about home and origin. On the one hand, there is a deep connection with the places from childhood, the traditions, the language. On the other hand, you grow out of it and now have to find a new place in everything.

I wanted to bring the familiar sounds of home into the song, and so at the beginning you can hear me walking through my home village and then at the end the church bells ringing at midnight. This sound always fills me with a great sense of security, and it ends my upcoming EP after a dream-like outro of noises, spherical voices and sounds.

~ Like Mint.

“Anchor,” by Rachel Caddy: Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Rachel’s music has been charming audiences since 2017. Releasing her debut EP Missing Screws in 2018, her delicate yet powerful blend of indie and storytelling folk has been establishing her as an artist to watch in Melbourne’s thriving songwriter circles. 

The latest single shows us a taste into what this artist has to offer next. Sitting at the cross section of Alternative and Folk, the sea-side tale grapples with internal conflict, addressing the doubts that hold us back from the things we care about most. As her vocals take center stage, we hear a wash of calming guitar and drum hats that embody sound much like crashing waves.

“Absence,” by Jake Whiskin: This Leeds-based word and songsmith showcases his talent for nuanced, introspective song-craft on vulnerable, yet empowering new single, which happens to also be the 3rd release from his forthcoming debut album.

Accompanied by his battered childhood guitar and sparse, simple piano figures, the lyrics take center stage, especially throughout this track. While encapsulating weighty themes of loss and a search for meaning, Whiskin’s passionate sound equally expresses an absence from within after loss and fills it for a moment with his sound.

“What’s Bothering You?” Taylor Taylor: Lovingly calling herself the one of many with two names, this artist embraces her roots in Lansing while she remains based in LA to pursue her dreams in her craft. Taylor has been cultivating her style with a nylon string guitar, warm vocals, and lyric driven song-writing since the age of fourteen. Highlights of her youthful career have been in performances in Nashville for showcases, Los Angeles, opening for Kris Allen, Jared Lee, Pia Toscano, Trombone Shorty, Jesse Ruben and Radio Disney’s, Shane Harper. Her band has opened for Jason Derulo, Daya, Jacob Whitesides, Von Grey, Little Big Town and Randy Houser, just to name a few.

Her latest self-produced singles “What’s Bothering You” and “All Day” explore a more electronic influenced sound, all while staying true to her acoustic nature and vulnerability. Soulful vocals bathe in a landscape of warmth and love as her talents fill the listener’s ears.

“Shipwrecks,” by The Sweeplings: Rising folk artists Cami Bradley and Whitney Dean share their next single as project becoming widely renowned as The Sweeplings. The duo magnifies the feelings of simple pleasures, how they exude their own sense of beauty and mystique– all through their folk eloquence and alternative soul.

The indie-folk duo recently announced their new full-length album Debris, due out on April 8th via Nettwerk Records. Seeing this record as a new beginning, they trace an arc from highs and lows, death and grief to birth and joy over the course of seven songs. Accompanying the announcement this single offers an image of hope when all feels lost using a crisp and clear depiction of a shipwreck. Though the waters have their moments in being rough, we all come from our hardships, and set our own paths forth to keep growing. For anyone who is overwhelmed, broken down, or suffering, they provide a light in the dark.

We had some melody ideas… We have this little phrase book we sometimes use to get ideas, and we found these phrases that revolved around shipwrecks and realized that kind of lyric was just right. We’re all bothered, we’re all struggling, we’re all just a wreck trying to figure out how to get to shore safely.

~ Whitney Dean

“Honest Folk,” The Spelling Club: Recording project from Oslo, this laid back track offers a unique blend of folk and indie rock that sets the listener at ease. Depicting their rendition of the story about people, and humanity as a whole, this song’s warmth in its instrumentals instill peace and hope as they depict an ordinary life filled with the strive for more and a purpose.

“XX,” by The Millennial Club: So-Cal based triplet, The Millennial Club, is an indie pop and R&B project. At a very young age, have managed to blend dance-inspired 80’s pop, beat-driven 90’s R&B, and emotional love-centered lyricism to mold their unique Southern California sound. Formed with singer/guitarist Andres Owens and bassist/keyboardist Jared Ortiz in late 2016, later adding guitarist/saxophonist Jake Stevenson and drummer Tyler Kamei, the band finds inspiration in a wide range of artists including Coldplay, Bombay Bicycle Club, St. Lucia, and The 1975. To date, the band has opened for Charlotte Lawrence and Katelyn Tarver and has played House of Blues Anaheim, The Satellite, The Study, FIESTAS Music & Arts Festival, and Summerlands Festival.

This single is the first to be released from their upcoming four-track EP, When It’s Just You & I. While it features a dark tone than in past releases, sonically, the infectious beat plays against the equally melancholic tone throughout the track.

When it comes down to it, I think that as artists, we all want to impact the world in some way, however big or small; the real reason we do what we do is because we can’t help but feel like we have to. We have to create, express, mold, shape, shift, contort, and most importantly, release the emotions and ideas within us. ‘xx’ showcases a new side to our musicality while remaining consistent and cohesive to what we’ve come to define as ‘our sound’ as The Millennial Club.

~ The Millennial Club

“Flower Souls,” by Eelke: After releasing their fresh EP, Tomorrow Same Time, this artist joins forces with old bandmate, friend, and drummer, Mischa Porte.

I had written quite a few songs that I knew I wanted to record with drums underneath, but I had no idea what they should sound like. Mischa is such a good drummer who is very skilled in strengthening and adding expressiveness to a song. In addition, he can also come up with parts for songs where you wouldn’t expect drums or percussion, which can take a song to a whole different level.

For me personally, it was a bit of a challenge to let go of control and share creative space with Mischa so that he could leave his own mark on the recordings as well. – Although I realized early in the process that I didn’t have to worry about that at all. Almost every creative choice that we had to make was unanimous. It is probably because we went through a large extent of our early musical education together.

We decided on the sound of ‘Tomorrow Same Time’ together; everything, from the selection of the songs, to which other instrumentalists we’d use, to the arrangements. We looked into each song individually to find out what was needed to achieve the most expressive result. We had a number of references for the sound but Tom Waits’ ‘Mule Variations’ (1999) was a no-brainer for both of us. That record means a great deal to us and was a big influence. On the sound, as well as in terms of making strong, sometimes radical choices in décor. It certainly put its mark on the recordings of ‘Tomorrow Same Time’.

~ Eelke

Taking inspiration from a novel titled Knulp, by Hermann, the main character states: “Every human being has his own soul, he can’t mix it with any other. Two people can meet, they can talk with one another, they can be close together. But their souls are like flowers, each rooted to its place. One can’t go to another, because it would have to break away from its roots, and that it can’t do. Flowers send out their scent and their seeds, because they would like to go to each other; but a flower can’t do anything to make a seed go to its right place; the wind does that, and the wind comes and goes where it pleases.” The single itself wraps into the theme of this quote; and with it, comes an emotional tale about humanity and the strive for growth.

“Take It,” by Glass Taxi: Friends since high school, Matt Norris and Melissa Burgess started sending songs back and forth during 2020. Melissa was a portrait painter in Atlanta when she began collaborating with Matt long-distance, pulling from her love of songwriting and art, as well as her experience as a classically-trained pianist. Matt was a fixture in the Atlanta music scene, playing in groups across genres and opening for bands as varied as Deerhunter, Mugison, and, randomly, Mumford & Sons. In 2015 he sold all his possessions (except musical instruments) and left the States, living in Berlin, Krakow, Taichung, and London, before settling in Poznan, Poland.

“We want to build a Wunderkammer of songs and sounds. A Wunderkammer is a cabinet for curiosities, a place to collect otherwise unrelated fascinations, a catalog of wonders. The point is simply to follow our most intense musical obsessions ruthlessly.”

~ Glass Taxi

The first single of the year, to be followed with a string of releases, this track showcases the tug and pull and the process of waiting for something to come from promises that are given. And we sense that “edge of our seat” feeling in the wait, the long to reach out and take on the opportunity presented. The vocals harmonize beautifully to capture this feeling, all while the slower tempo and texture of instrumentals compliment the piece further.

Check out our picks on our exclusive Spotify playlist and let us know what you think in the comments!

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