The warm weather is finally showing strong here in Lisbon, and with still strange times making their best efforts to stick around, we’ve at least noticed that music has come back strong the past two weeks. Counting some incredible more than 400 submissions in the last 14 days, tracks have been generally more upbeat and we feel that is a reflex of positivity all around the world. Well, we need it, and what makes a harder job for us, makes for an even stronger compilation of the best new releases. Here we collect 9 tracks we’ve loved that were released in these last days. And if you listen to them all, you’ll understand that they are all very different and spanning almost all music genres. A rainbow of tracks, reminiscing charms of a pre-pandemic world, or just positive signs we are all going, slowly, back to normal?
Arlo – Southern Charm
Texas-born singer-songwriter Arlo is bringing his “Southern Charm” to New York and the world, and there is a chance that the whole thing spreads wide and to everywhere. Sound a bit old-styled in terms of production, there are bags of flavor in this folk-inspired and rock-rooted track, that feels properly American but also very well mixed between retro and modern elements. Perhaps its greatest quality is the way the song grows on the listener from start to end (like a proper songwriter product) and leaves us singing it on our heads since the first listen. The track that is actually about how a long-distance relationship can be incredibly hard, sounds everything but hard to listen to.
Emmrose – Waitlisted
When Emmrose found herself waitlisted after applying to the Clive Davis School of Recorded Music at New York University, she wrote a cathartic track about it. Being a painful track to write about and to listen to personally- as it is both honest and real – “Waitlisted” actually worked out as a powerful pop track that is both clever and punchy. Flawlessly produced, showcasing her powerful voice, but also the enormous capacity to compose a modern and relevant track. There are hooks and hooks, and actually getting into some rock elements besides pop, this is like some of our pop symbols gave up doing tracks about sex and actually put some effort writing tracks about feelings. In her own words “writing an upbeat song was a fun contrast to an overall pretty sad song for me lyrically. I wanted it to be an anthem of a sort for people who’ve been in a similar situation; that you can find some kind of dark celebration in getting rejected.“
Lazy Daze – Reminiscing
Echoing on the best that lo-fi rock has to offer we encounter Lady Daze’s latest track “Reminiscing“. The track has an anthology rock feel, taking the best from retro feels of bands like The Strokes, giving it a proper production to feel more modern but still melancholic in a nostalgic way. The track is the lead single off their debut EP “Pitted” and works around a shoegaze feel that finds in the slightly and cleverly distorted vocals its golden point. A great track that sounds naturally flowing and like a proper track to listen to live, leaving space for the acoustic guitar to shine along, and for us to listen to it while swimming at night.
Leah Rye – Elusive
Leah Rye’s “Elusive” is the title track of her debut EP released today. The track that is about “dancing in the rain and trying to reach for something you just can’t control” is a gigantic work of composition and production that mixes shoegaze, rock, and bits of folk and pop. Genius and impressive, there are so many twists in it, that the listening experience easily alternates between being surprised, lost, grounded to the lyrics, and hooked to certain elements of the melody. And throughout it all, we just feel the power emanating all over it. We highly recommend the full EP (listen here) as she might very well be among the greats very soon with how rare and incredible every single track sounds. This is the second time in a very short time we feature her (you can check the other feature here).
Lia D’sau – Manboy
Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, the 18-year-old Lia D’sau released her debut track entitled “Manboy” recently, and what impressed us the most was the vocal power and the depth in her sonority. The track that sounds melancholic but also intense, highlights her capability to shine naturally as a vocalist but also impresses as a songwriter. The track grows and surprises with unusual vibrations sounds like a proper statement to what she pursues in music and still showcases some pretty unusual maturity by exploring her thoughts on womanhood, relationships, and social issues that will sound relevant to all ages: “I’ve been taught to look deeper at the world since I was a child, and I have things I want to say”. With R&B as her favorite go-to as she grew up, she is now doing her own thing including indie elements with R&B vibes and doing meaningful tracks. This is her first track coming out of her debut EP produced by Midi Jones (Demi Lovato, Audrey Mika, Alessia Cara). Pretty impressive stuff.
Rex Kalibur – Living Machine
“Livetronica, triphop, post-rock exploration”. That’s how simple we’re introduced to Rex Kalibur’s (what a name) debut track “Living Machine”. We’ve listened to it the first time about two weeks ago, and since then this has been a safe place of daily return. This is, first and foremost a gentile electronic trip. One where every single listener, we believe, can get easily lost in a good way. Starting smoothly with a rocking pace that is felt mostly through the constant-evolving guitar and strong background drums and a soft piano that goes and comes, lullabying us like it’s no one else’s business. The track that runs for about six minutes, has an incredible way of hooking us when we are no longer expecting it to (like the drop before the 3rd minute) only to get back again with a lot of melodic power. A flawless listening experience that makes us travel to another imaginary place, every single time we give it a go.
Sam Lynch – Good Year
“Good Year” is a song about loss, confusion and hope, and the cyclical, repetitive nature of those three experiences. But a song that hits so big inside, that it’s actually the song time we feature it. With the original version of the track being released at the beginning of this year, at that time we’ve written that “The huge amount of feeling Sam Lynch extracts from it – or builds into it – is so powerful that I felt immediately connected. The way her vocals echo in the “dark”, the way they sound honest and raw and meaningful. It’s like the song is filling a void, and that makes me feel embraced, safe. And you all know how important is for someone to feel safe in times like these we’ve been going through“. Well, there’s no way to hide from the acoustic version either. Sounding much (much!) different than the original, this is like the original strength of the track was transfigured to sound even more personal but also more positive: “I aimed for the acoustic version to have some forward movement, a heartbeat, and maybe even some hope. Recorded at home, with my favorite $15 thrifted guitar“.
Tim Atlas – Water
LA-based artist, songwriter, and producer, Tim Atlas, released his new EP entitled “QUOTA” today with the track “Water” being revealed as the standout track. A track that focuses on mental health narrating how the singer feels disconnected from the happiness of the world around him. The track’s sonority is a calming one though. Filled with 80’s meet 90’s RnB and semi-electronic vibes, the vocals are the biggest tranquility factor, working that way as an irony to its meaning: “Throughout the last year, I’ve felt the full spectrum of emotions, feeling balanced in my life then unbalanced, bouncing back and forth“. Recorded at his living room due to the pandemic, there is a lo-fi vibe that fuses with a professional production that elevates the track to our skies of pop wonder.
This is probably the first time we feature the two songs from two artists with the same name in the same week. But here he is Arlo. Also known as “Arlo beets” he comes accompanied by two other names. This collaboration with Tover and Emi Grace is one beautiful mix of sonorities that feel heavy influenced by World Music and pop with a modern twist shake. “little bird” is a track that makes it very hard for the listeners to keep their composure and to not do a proper dancing move along. The drums are pure gold, the pace of the track is incredible, the other percussion elements that get in very early in the track and keep showing up for great moments, and of course the vocal hooks are sick. The track goes from World Music to a full electronic track as it gets closer to the end. Probably the most surprising track we’ve listen to the last two weeks mostly because of the way it re-invents itself throughout and the way it re-invents and applies modern music patterns to sound like a stand-out. Don’t let it full you, this is a very energetic little bird.
"little bird" was selected by the WtMM team to be included in our monthly updated Spotify playlist with the best recent tracks we covered. You can follow it here.