We've been finding the beginning for 2022 one of the hardest ones to get through. Life, sometimes, gets hectic and we don't do everything we wanted to do. And that's ok. Sometimes we just have to let ourselves be and recon that it is ok to not do it all. Yes, this is we "apologizing" for not publishing many new songs so far this year admitting that we shouldn't apologise. Sometimes life is too complicated, and that's just the way it is. Sometimes we feel just like sleepyheads and others we just have the streng to get our raincoats and keep ourselves safe from getting wet. Metaphors apart, music has been gentle for us. And this first collection of great tracks released very recently is the best statement of that.
Amber Run – I Miss You
From the first moment we actually had a bit of a soft spot for Amber Run, the indie band from Nottingham. When we were first blown away by “I Found”, we knew we were far from done with the band. And that’s right. However, the history of Amber Run can be called a bit turbulent. After the release of their debut album “5AM” they were dropped out of nowhere by their record label, but they certainly didn’t sit still. They worked their way around and now we are two albums further, a mature sound has been created and the band has built up a good reputation when it comes to writing songs that always touch. “I Miss You” is the latest single from them. And we could be here all day and we would certainly would not avoid the word “stunner” as the best way to describe it.
Cassie Marin – Every Time I See The Ocean
Described as “an ode to Cassie’s upbringing near the beach,” “Every Time I See The Ocean” is a track that conveys the essence of comfort and acceptance. Sonory wise it features her echoing vocal that feels both pop and R&B and a gorgeous electronic-infused piano with a silky background where we can feel we are floating around the ocean water.
elison – Hopes & Horoscopes
Future can be written in some very weird lines, and Marissa Kephart can definitely say for her it has. After spending 20 years wishing to get some music out there, the pandemic allowed her some extra space to find “the courage to finally pick up the guitar and start singing”. Together with music teacher, multi-instrumentalist and producer Scott Yoshimura (The Envy Corps, Canby), Marissa has formed elison, who have released their second single at the start of 2022 – “Hopes & Horoscopes”.
“Hopes & Horoscopes” is a playful, yet melancholy-filled track lived up from its Alvvays influenced dreamy guitar work and atmosphere and hooks sounding when Slow Pulp up their shoegaze influences. Marissas’s voice is perfect for the dream pop genre, and the songwriting here – highlighting a “collection of habits” the singer “can’t seem to shake” – just helps build a world filled with psychedelic soft colours. It’s warm, cosy and delightful pop music we just can’t shake off from our minds.
FERGUS – More Than I Deserve (Acoustic)
We have already shown you what FERGUS is all about. Probably one of the most incredible vocals we’ve seen in the last two years, and just keeps sending great tracks after great tracks. Always evident are the vocals. That makes us feel small and at the same time mellow-ed. The London based singer-songwriter latest track is the beautiful “More Than I Deserve“, a stripped back acoustic version of his previous latest single. The track is also the perfect demonstration of FERGUS raw talent as an instinctive singer and musician.
The track “was born out of conflict in a relationship. I wanted to convey that restless angst of turning things over and over in your mind, trying to find a way through that conflict. It’s a song about commitment and persevering, even though it hurts. So, although it sounds dark and painful, really, it’s a message of dedication and hope. A declaration of love.”
Grimson – How Come No One Told Me
“Much like how Slash came up with the guitar riff for “Sweet Child ‘o Mine” by doing guitar warmup, the riff for this song came about from a chromatic exercise my guitar teacher taught me. Written in high school and recorded when I moved to Berlin at the age of 23, this song expresses the loneliness of being confronted with failure and misguided actions. The narrator clearly wants to go back in time and relearn how to be human, how to perceive themself more clearly, as they believe others do“. Grimson latest track is not only a marvelous indie lo-fi rock track and a retro inspiration sonority that sounds gorgeous, but also a superb track that feels novel and filled with meaning. There are evidences of a Wilco vibe, but there is also a nurtured vibe that already makes the project one of the best new findings of the year. Oh and the superb chorus will make you sing it again, and again.
Hunter Moreau – Sleepyhead
Through her music, rising pop songstress Hunter Moreau frequently steps outside of her comfort zone to express the most vulnerable parts of herself, captivating listeners along the way. Her newest single, “Sleepyhead,” is no exception. Released on the 7th this month, the track has a clear story to tell in terms of production. “started out in my bedroom, ironically. I was in my bed doing a lot of thinking, and probably a lot of overthinking. I fell into this repeated game I play with my mind, getting wrapped up in my own thoughts and worries and emotions. As l layd there, I started to think about how everyone goes through these sorts of “fights’ ‘ or “games’ ‘ with their own minds, often repeating the same toxic ways of thinking over and over again because we’re so accustomed to it. I began to write down some of these ideas I was having, and that’s when I came up with the line, “I built myself a house of tricks, with a clock on the wall that always ticks.” The rest of the song more or less grew out of this line“.
As pop as it sounds, there are tracks we can still fresh and play inside our heads like nobody has even written something like it, even if they did. “Sleepyhead” has that capacity of sounding fresh, relevant and fully gorgeous all over.
James Chelliah x Cam May – I cannot tell, I do not know
James Chelliah and Cam May are excited to release “I cannot tell, I do not know” on the 2nd of January 2022. The track is a follow up to “Hold On, Pt. 2”, James’s highly-acclaimed collaboration with Moses Boyd and DARGZ – is an existential indie rap project accompanied by a graphic diary created by textile designer and illustrator Grace Joyram, which aims to present a detailed composite representing the range of emotions experienced and explored throughout the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
The project is a clarion call for those blindly walking through a life lived within the preordained boundaries set by others, and a sonic jolt to those whose bodies and minds are tired of the endless fight against the accepted norm. It explores the odd simultaneous contentment and frustration felt by many over the past two years, juxtaposing the tranquillity of monotony against discomfiting feelings of stagnation and aimlessness brought about by pandemic life.
Lo Moon – Raincoats
It was back in 2018 when Los Angeles-based band Lo Moon released their great self-titled debut. Four years later, the group comprised of Matt Lowell (vocals/guitar), Crisanta Baker (bass/keyboards), and Sam Stewart (guitar) is preparing the release of their sophomore record, “A Modern Life” – to be produced by the band alongside Yves Rothman (Yves Tumor, Miya Folick) and Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie), who produced their debut -, with the first taste of what’s to come being presented by its lead single, “Raincoats”.
“Raincoats” is a dissonant pop song in the best way possible. It begins its life as an ethereal dream-pop tune, Matt Lowell’s vocals soaring through a world of synths, before a Radiohead-style break pushes us into a cathartic explosion of beautiful guitars and drums, walking beside us with the Death Cab for Cutie meets Everything Everything style crescendo that rounds up the track. It’s experimental, bold, soaring, and it opens up a whole new world for what the remaining songs from “A Modern Life” can sound. The record comes out on the 25th of February.
Madam Bandit – Punch You In The Face
We could try to explain how “Punch You In The Face“, the newest single by Madam Bandit, the electro-pop alias of indie singer-songwriter Mindy Gledhill, has charmed us simply by, well, existing. But it’s better not to – there is something special here that one must find by themselves. Is it the incredible catchy hook? Is it the almost 100 Gecs influenced post-ironic production style? The tongue-in-cheek lyrics or the Madam’s energic, charismatic and unique delivery? What the hell is happening here? Well, whatever it is, the “Punch You In The Face” is memorable and we can’t get enough of it, full stop.
Philine Sonny – Same Light
Philine Sonny arrives in 2022 with her second sign of musical life. After a very successful release first single entitled “Lose Yourself”, the 20-year-old artist expands her range also as producer and as an incredible do-it-all, with the second single entitled “Same Light“. Emotional from the first second, vocally charged and paced, the track feels as classic and clean as it feels with depth and highly polished. The drum machine in the intro sets the driving beat and although the instrumentation is classic and timeless, there are always stylishly selected “ear candy” moments that make the song hard to resist. Everything sounds also very much with a lyrical meaning and is very easy to fall into the track emotional path.
About that, she explains: “Same Light is a song about being exposed to very high expectations. The attempt to keep one’s past-influenced sides in the dark, just to satisfy the expectations of a person who is getting closer.”
Sleepyhead – See My Love
“I have taken the last 2 years to start a new solo project called Sleepyhead, and this is my first release for it. When I was trying to figure out what direction to go in I felt a bit lost but once I made the hook to this song it felt right. This track is special to me because it shows how much I have grown as an artist over the past several years“.
Not many more words are necessary to describe a first release like “See My Love“. Electronically infused with an incredible sonority, sounding fresh and with a noticeable novelty, everything about it is fascinating. The only minus is that it ends, quite fast. Thank god for the replay button.
tummyache – Alive Again
tummyache is An Alternative Rock Project created by songwriter/producer Soren Bryce. The project is named after one of the side effects of severe physical anxiety. Tummyache manifested from Bryce’s need to explore a new set of emotions she experienced while living in Brooklyn, New York as a teenager. the debut EP “HUMPDAY” was an honest and aggressive self-dive into a myriad of intra/interpersonal issues; as well as a reflection of the human condition through the lens of absurdism. tummyache’s newest unreleased album was crafted in the shed of her parent’s backyard at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Alive again” the newest track came out today (21st January) and in an almost Radhohead spirit filled with dark indie rock but also a lifeline of hope in its sonority, it tries to “encourages people to reflect on their own health and well-being“. The track is also the title track of the debut album released by Soren Bryce’s as tummyache and a work of art we expect to be talked about a lot during this year. If every track sounds like this one, we are definitely in for a no-brainer. Or should we say a brainer-explosive?
Warren Thomas Fenzi – Good Mood
A favourite of ours, Warren Thomas Fenzi, has been releasing almost a track by track of his newest album “Garden State” (we talked about it here). Probably the greatest track yet was released last week and is entitled “Good Mood“. Exceptional in the way it grows. Exceptional in how both vocal and the acoustic electric guitar sound deep and haunting. Exceptional in the lyrical capacity and in the way it serves only one purpose, to make a listener feel touched by music. For us personally this is why we love music and why we listen to music. There are evidences and gorgeous resemblances with War on Drugs in all its glory. And that’s probably the best ever compliment we can give someone. And if you don’t believe us. Just listen to this:
y.azz – Trouble
y.azz is the musical alter ego of Mariana Prista. A singer by nature, and of incredible genunity in the way she approaches her songs in a wavy R&B that feels reivented at every corner, she is about to debut her solo EP entitled “Heartbreak Mixtapes” next month, and “Trouble” is its new advance. Based on a real-life love letter, the track sings about self-sabotage and missed opportunities. The slow and intimate beat accompanies her rich voice that feels as silky as powerful keeping an inner sense of sensibility and a lot (a lot!) of surprising hooks. Very hard to no sing along after two or three chorus, it turns evident and beautiful the enormous emotional charge of those who look at life in retrospect and realize everything that could have been and didn’t become. Produced by YANAGUI, recorded by LEFT. with a cinematic video by João Hortêncio and artistic direction by herself and Pilar do Rio. We really like to put all the names in this, as it is as good as music gets.