Featured Music of the Week: 06.13.2022
This is our final, at least for now, featured picks for the week! Thanks so much for having us and we hope you enjoy this final update.
“Normal,” by ADDY: This Norwegian singer and songwriter has honed in her own sense of classic pop throughout her craft. Even with a personal story of struggle, she has not only endured, but discovered joy and triumph after she was led down a difficult path earlier on. She found a new sense of motivation, since, believing above all else that second chances in life do happen as she re-discovered her love for music. In her youth, she performed on different Norwegian music-themed television shows, such as Norwegian Idol and The Voice. She then hopped the pond to LA, then Las Vegas to start a music career, before moving back to Norway after not quite feeling at home. She then has written a vulnerable, classic-pop debut album, Wounds, that her growing fanbase is continuing to anticipate upon each single release.
Recently unveiled, this single embodies all the pain the artist has endured earlier on in her life, all while transforming into a classical pop anthem that reaches beyond the scope of her personal journey. Relatable lyrics resonate as a darker edge as the beat resonates and harmonizes with an overall feel-good mood that many can relate to globally.
“sideways,” by MIXIE: LGBTQI+ to the bone and currently home to Manhattan, this artist is a self-defined “renaissance girl for the 21st century.” With a career already in fashion and content creation, she next has centered her focus on music. She has made a mark as a digital artist, fashion designer, and model, she has fully delved in to the art world and decided to brand things her own way. When it comes to art, she lives in a post-classification world. In her music, she has continuously pushed the boundaries by genre, all while using her other passions to blend in her own sense of style and identity.
This single shows of the artist’s indie-pop side. With guitars effortlessly flourished, her vocals shine on center stage above a beat anyone can dance along to. And her lyrics speak to the soul with a brand new perspective as she details recent temptations have given her, and how she’s overcome them with a bright, fresh ideal and overcome the difficulties.
“Got Myself,” by PAENDA: This Viennese producer, musician, and singer has been consistently working on her craft and developing her sound. In recent years, the productions have arisen from underground and bloomed into the mainstream of electronic pop. Since her beginnings were found in 2017, she has gotten the attention from many musical heavy-hitters, including the likes of Jessie J as she performed as the opening act, and has performed at various music festivals. It was in 2019 when she performed on the ESC in Tel Aviv that her international success began.
This single is an upbeat bop that is driven in becoming self-defined and confident in life as we know it. Driven to the forefront, a beat continues to build the tension of the track as vocals pour into the scene. Complimenting one another throughout the production, the upbeat melody continues throughout the song and induces lighthearted tones and nothing but good vibes.
“Dolls,” by ANDRÆ: This independent, one-man band has begun to shift the definition of genre with his uniquely experimental sound. Initially influenced by soul and jazz singers like Jimmy Scott or Nina Simone, he also started showing interest in experimental pop/R&B artists like James Blake or serpentwithfeet before becoming who we know as ANDRÆ. After releasing a few songs over the past few years, being featured on blogs and on radio shows like BBC 6 Introducing, he releases a self-made EP called ‘I don’t fall, I crash’ that comes out in November 2020. He then released a project promoting individualism and self-expression, “Negative mountains”.
This is the second release in a series of post-breakup coping mechanisms. Fronted with heavily electronic vocals to set the tone, the beat drops before the artist’s own voice shifts the scene into a uniquely textured experience that continues to ramp up anticipations and intensify the soundscape. Pushing his peculiar genre even further, he creates a soulful hyperpop and experimental electronic song, as the second chapter of the story he started with his previous release, “I’m hungry.”
These “Dolls” are the people we idealize, objectify, and use in order to cope with the loss of a loved one, or the end of a relationship. Beyond the usual rebound, this person is seen as the perfect solution to a much more complex and personal issue, which ultimately fails and puts you back to square one.
“red hot winter,” by XYLØ: This artist, also known as Paige Duddy, was raised in the suburban outskirts of Los Angeles. A large musical influence has paved the initial stages in her musical journey. She achieved breakthrough success early on in her music career with debut EP, America (2015), including viral hit “Afterlife.” She has since continued to rise in the industry with a string of sold out headlining shows, over 350 million streams on Spotify, her own indie label, Pretty Records, a string of successful EPs, and much more, we have been eager to keep an eye on what she has to offer next. Now on her own, she’s eagerly paving her own path and is sure to soon soar on the charts. With her unapologetic lyric-driven songs covering themes of loneliness, self-discovery and feeling like an outsider, XYLØ has cultivated a loyal fanbase around the world who say the same.
This single is the final release before the drop of her debut album, unamerican beauty, out now on all listening platforms. Beginning with a spoken word introduction, is almost a prayer for the well-being of the earth as it pinpoints its criticism on the wealthy. “Your sharp tongue just burst my bubble / Now this flat earth is in trouble / I just want to be in love / I want us to love each other / Glasses on now I see nuclear / I hope that we see the new year / Costs the world to get to space / Burn your money / Fan the flames.” However, ultimately, the track is a satirical commentary above all else. While contrasting the lighthearted, blended in with burned, roughened and intense visuals in the lyrics, the artist marries the two feelings together to induce a sense of anxiety. Executed seamlessly, the song comments on the sociological issues of America and the world beyond. In the chorus, she sings sweetly in the forefront of an intense beat, “it’s a beautiful day for the end of the world, it’s a red hot winter.” Each lyric is crisp and paints a clear visual as it not only mirrors, but enhances the anxieties many of us feel about the state of our world under a microscope.
“red hot winter” is a stream of consciousness, a poem, a diary entry from the mind of a young adult who is affected by climate change. It’s a song about feeling helpless and terrified for the future, so I guess I’ll put my glasses on and watch it all burn.
– XYLØ (Paige Duddy)
“You Wanted Me to Stay,” by Dasie: A blend of ‘petty pop for nice girls’ and ethereally executed vocals, this track embraces the bitterness that comes from the messy breaks in a relationship, and holds it close before projecting it out to the world in a cathartic execution and shameless energy. It embraces the ugliness, calls it out for what it is as each word processes the listener through the experience. Then, we all break free, together as the song creates the escape before blending out of the soundscape into its own oblivion.
“Be Somebody,” by Fulton Lee: Nashville-based, self dubbed as “bubblegum funk,” this soul-pop artist is paving a modernized style of music of his own that nods to fifties rock and roll while maintaining an identity of its own. Resulting in a vintage-tinged atmosphere and infectiously-groovy melodies, we feel this artist is on to big things in their musical future. This single is the latest from the artist, paired with an intense and artistic music video. It’s the second track from the debut full-length, Sonny Boy, to come later this year.
“Be Somebody” is about breaking free from mental prisons of addiction and obsession. I used to have an unhealthy relationship with my art and career. My self worth and mental well being was so tied to the success or failure of my art that I was becoming unstable. One day I was up, another I was way down depending on how my music was doing. I found that this problem ultimately made me avoid working on my music, which made me fall behind on my goals, which started the vicious cycle over and compounded the whole thing… Lines like “I was made to be somebody” are meant to flip the phrase on its head, referring to “being somebody” not as being someone successful and powerful, but as being a human being free to live in peace and love people, not held prisoner to a never ending series of goals that make it impossible to simply enjoy the current state of life and be present with those around me.
~ Fulton Lee
“The Way Back,” by Ainsley Farrell: A Sydney-based artist from the United States, this musician has received airplay from radio stations all around Australia, and has been featured in television series throughout their career. As she continues to rise in the industry, she begins her next chapter in her music journey. This single is the first to come off her upcoming debut album, Dirt, focused on anyone having trouble seeing the light in all the darkness as it brings a light of hope in finding their own way back home.
I wrote this song when my best friend was going through one of the hardest times of her life, and I couldn’t be there for her physically. I was really worried about her mental state and felt a bit useless communicating from a different country. She was experiencing this immense pain, and I just wanted to be able to sit with her and hold her. This song is metaphorically holding her in the light, holding some of that pain for her, until she’s ready to put one foot in front of the other and realize it’s worth sticking it out in this world.
~ Ainsley Farrell
“Work It Out (acoustic),” by Jane. : This artist has manifested his own spiritual rebirth while in isolation of the pandemic. Out came from it an intimate and timely experience through the product of his hard work, in each word of his music. The artist’s personal journey moves upon waves, both within & without. Meditating on an intuitive, sincere beginning, a first wave of guitar sings in this song, slowly ebbing into the soundscape as vocals, too, do the same. Gentle waves of sound continue to build and breathe life into the listener. Stripped back to the bare essentials, the song’s true form has unfolded before the audience. In it comes an experience that is deemed not only cathartic, but one that continues to build and inspire for self-discovery and growth.
“Young Love,” by Sonic Løland: The creations under this artist’s name is fronted by Norwegian musician, Anders Løland. Together with co-producer Hans Olav Settem (Benedikt) he has formed his latest project, And Then The Sun Came Up, which is due to be released on Koke Plate this fall. A collector of sounds, he’s experimented in melding unique forms of folk with a texture of elements not often found in music for many years. He decided that in a time of isolation, it was the year a full album was to be pulled together from the “poorly named hard drives” he had stowed away for seemingly forever. The end result came since, a creative endeavor that lacked no mysticism in its experimentalism. Melodic elements layer and texture the tracks further as the artist’s harmonizing vocals pair the sounds together as their own masterpiece of 60s chamber pop, nylon string guitar and longing melodies melting together with VHS-samples, electronic drums, ambient music and delicate string arrangements.
This is the third single toward that album, at first written and recorded as a demo alone in the living room with an acoustic guitar on the lap, the mellotron on the dinner table, and with cutlery, plates and cups as percussion. These ingredients are kept in the final version along with a delicate and dramatic string arrangement, choir and colorful production details. The result is a perfectly unique masterpiece, at that.
“Covered Me,” by elison: This Des Moines, Iowa indie rock, shoegaze, and dream pop duo, is fronted by lead singer, Marissa Kephart, and guitarist Scott Yoshimura. After Scott produced Marissa’s first ever song, the two formed into a project of their own in the summer of last year. Their love of similar music tastes influenced not only their inspiration in working together, but in their music since. Sonically sweet, melodically vibrant, dreamy guitars, airy vocals and lush atmospheric sounds are highlighted throughout their previous releases.
This single was formed in peeling back the layers of someone else’s story. The character the song depicts shares a love of the spotlight until it begins to eclipse all else until they’re left questioning their identity. Fuzzy guitars blends with a meandering bass to form the backing sound of the track as heavy drums penetrate the soundscape to further build the tension. Adding in the final textures, vocals add in a warmth that fills in the void and unease of being in this kind of relationship.
What was your favorite? Let us know in the comments! Thanks so much, again, for having us for our Featured Music of the Week series. Stay tuned for what’s next to come.