New Music Daily
Brooklyn-based experimental electro rockers ackerman is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Jordan McAfee-Hahn, who has uses the project as a springboard to collaborate with a wide community of NYC artists filmmakers, and musicians that have contributed to the project.
Inspired by ‘bedroom pop’ of the early 2000’s, “84 Palms” elicits a softer touch from the band, showcasing Jordan’s ethereal vocals and dialed-in pop melodies over a bed of glistening, synth driven production. That intangible mixture, combined fingerpicked guitars, creates a sound that is synthetic yet natural – a stylistic evolution that points to a promising new aesthetic for the band.
Teddi Gold seemed to bust out of the gate a few months back, a fully formed pop anomaly, boasting the delightfully saccharine single “Video Games.” Her undeniable knack for crafting dynamic tracks with phat beats and ear wormy melodies could certainly place her amongst contemporaries like Charlie XCX and Dua Lipa, but Teddi seems less interested in regurgitating tried-and-true fluff, preferring to adapt the Top 40 format to fit her empowering agenda.
Gold’s newest single, “Figure it Out,” is packed with gorgeous, self-reflective hooks which elicit a feeling of elation and catharsis. The subject matter here could be interpreted as a ‘get over him’ content, but is much more about taking responsibility for your life and becoming a spiritual warrior. Regarding the meaning of the track, Gold says, “Figure It Out’ is my reflection on walking away from a toxic relationship. The pain of letting someone go, but also the celebration of finding your self worth.”
The newest Ela Nedra remix, courtesy of Ruby Francis & Raph A, is a gorgeous summer jam full of punchy synth stabs and shimmering beats. Her signature tropical electro-pop vibes are ever present, but there is a welcomed injection of RnB flavor that pushes the track further into Top 40 territory. It is a surprisingly earthy remix, relying on Nedra’s effortless vocals and positive lyrics. According to the songstress, “I like truth and I tend to listen to my music early in the morning; the quiet somehow makes for peace within. I’m a hippy, I know, just happy to have been given the chance to make and sing music that
relates to where I’m at now. Electronics in sound doesn’t have to be cold! There is heat in the music. You can hear clearly when you listen with your body and heart.”
Electro-rock quartet Remember The Monsters curb their hard-hitting edge with soaring melodic hooks, imbuing their slamming riffs with soulful pop introspection. They came up in the burgeoning Tucson, AZ alternative scene which made them work twice as hard to stand apart from the throngs of upstarts intent on carving out their own niche. Their hunger for perfecting their craft is evident in their newest single, “Sink,” which sounds like a tight hybrid of Muse and Panic At The Disco.
Brighton-based indie-pop 4 piece Fond of Rudy produce hook driven pop that channels Top 40, circa early 2000s. BBC Radio 6,BBC Introducing London, CLASH and Earmilk have thrown fuzz their way and it’s well deserved. “Singapore” is ambitious and just about impossible to get out of your head once the chorus has its way with you.
The single release will mark the beginning of an accelerated drive to the bands first UK tour this summer.
Experimental female pop ambassador Madeline has been serving up delectably strange and empowered media since she arrived on the scene in 2017. It’s only fitting that, when attempting to appropriate the work of another artist, she decided to cover the fairy godmother of Alterna-Pop, Bjork, who wrote “Birthday” in her artistic infancy as a member of The Sugarcubes.
The new video boasts a joyful, simple, uncluttered vibe which is exactly what Madeline intended. “It’s a beautiful ode to the innocence of a young girl, and the beauty of a life. Sometimes I need to remember myself as a little kid. It helps me to have more self love and compassion when my anxiety starts to take over,” she asserts. Indeed, the unbridled performance coupled with the songs lighthearted vibe makes for a deeply therapeutic experience, even if it’s not your birthday, per se.
“Birthday” is lifted from her new EP, Then Her Head Fell Off, which is Madeline’s most left field project to date – brimming with weird, wild and unmistakably original songs.
Alessandro Ciminata is a London-based songwriter who creates romantic indie pop, brimming with bittersweet nostalgia. Instead of leaning into the future for inspiration, Alessandro seems to find his muse in the bygone days when people shared real moments, devoid of smart phones and social media. Reflecting on the themes of his empowering new single “Kings,” Ciminata asserts, “In the era of social networks we sometimes forget what real life is like. Have you ever asked yourself how many unforgettable moments you could lose by looking at your phone? We don’t need to use social networks to feel complete and pretend to be someone we are not. We are who we are and this is unique already.”
Finland-based MC Pete Santos creates a compelling hybrid of world, R&B, and hip hop. His anthemic single, “Heroes,” finds the artist in an uplifting mood, laying down a series of beautifully designed rhymes about his faith in humanity. In a strikingly creative move, the track begins with the original demo of the hook, which Santos and his producer Berat “Flos” Cimily had on the shelf for over two years before they busted it out as the fourth single from the 2019 release Fisherman. Hit play and hold tight for the bright, positive vibrations.
Hollywood songstress Olivia Henry produces sophisticated glam pop, influenced by her previous incarnation as a jazz starling. Her lush compositions often vacillate between zesty, confident swagger and deep-seated insecurity. “Tear Me Apart” falls into the latter category, with Henry detailing the drastic measures she undertakes in order to hold on to a dispassionate lover. Somehow she makes these desperate sentiments seems sexy as all hell.
“Tear Me Apart” is the sophomore single from Henry’s forthcoming release Part I—Expectations
NYC-based indie electro quartet Blak Emoji specialize in pumped up dance rock that belies a deeper message.
Fronted by soulful singer-songwriter Kelsey Warren, the band blasted onto the Manhattan live scene in 2015, following up their renown live shows with their debut EP INTRO, a synth-dipped odyssey through the city that never sleeps. Released in January of 2017, INTRO stoked the flames of Blak Emoji’s hype, resulting in two of the EP’s singles being synced on the ABC television show Quantico.
The band’s forthcoming full length, KUMI, drops February 22nd and features the dizzying club anthem “Lust Love Above” which showcases Warren’s husky Seal-esque vocals over a hypnotic electro groove. While the song boasts a glitzy veneer, Warren manages to imbue the vocals with his trademark authenticity, speaking on the often diametrically apposed feelings of ‘lust’ and ‘love’ which are often inseparable when embarking on a new relationship.
Brooklyn-based Deidre Muro has fleshed out a nostalgic world inspired by girl groups, Go-go dancers, and high flying exploitation cinema. Her brilliant, vignette-like songs inject modern influences into the tried and true formulas made famous by Motown, creating a sound that is highly evocative of the 1960’s yet still adaptable to our modern times.
“Bad Day” is the flagship single from her newest album, Variety Hour, due out February 5th, 2019
If you’re not familiar with Brené Brown, let me do the honor of introducing you to a wonderful woman who has dedicated her professional life to studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. Her book Daring Greatly taught me two important life lessons:
- “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
- “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
I look back at the version of myself who once wrote really honest Straight Talk Sundays regularly on here and I admire her openness and expressiveness. In the years that have passed since I contributed my thoughts regularly to this outlet, I fear the majority of that courage to be vulnerable has been lost. It feels tucked away and still not yet ready to come out fully. Perhaps someday. But for now, I’ve found the best way to express my feelings and emotions are through curating the creations of others in the form of monthly playlists (find November’s here and other months here). Today, in an effort to take one more step forward, I want to write about this month’s backstory.
The last month has been a challenging one. I’ve been dealing with some pretty debilitating health issues; I spent the majority of October either at home, in the hospital, or at doctors’ offices. I’ve had to take a good chunk of time away from work, which in itself has taken the courage to be honest with myself and put myself on the sidelines. I’ve missed my family. I’ve continued to miss my dad, who passed away over 8 years ago. I’ve missed a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
I haven’t been able to find much motivation to do many of the things I’ve always loved. It’s no secret that searching for new music is one of my favorite things to do, and I’ve spent a good chunk of my life finding pleasure in that. But I couldn’t find it in October, which is the month I use to put together November’s playlist. So this month’s playlist is mostly a collection of what I found from friends and some old favorites, accompanied by a few new findings of my own.
For reasons you can likely now understand, this month was certainly a more calming collection than some others. And it’s worth noting that these playlists are intended to be played in order as opposed to on shuffle. If you do listen in order, you may notice a sonic progression arranged a bit like that of a bell curve. It starts slow, it begins to get a bit more upbeat, peaks at the hip hop section I always save space for, then brings it back home with some slower arrangements, ending with two peaceful instrumentals and lastly a reminder from Andre 3000 and Big Boi to “hold on, be strong.”
There are songs intentionally placed next to each other that I feel were meant to be together. I imagine what a beautiful thing it would be if the artists could know what their song’s match is. To me, “I Miss You” (Branchez remix) fits perfectly beside another remix called “I Still See Your Face” by San Holo and Flaws, because don’t we all when we miss somebody? There are two Big Wild songs right next to each other, one that repeats “I do it for the love, I do it for the love” over and over again, the next repeating “show me love, show me love, show me love.” Chance the Rapper of course makes another appearance this month, and the song that follows is one he sampled in his song “Everybody’s Something” on Acid Rap. I have found myself asking the world to show me love and to remind me that “everybody’s somebody’s everything” throughout not just trying times in my own life, but also some pretty devastating times in the world around us. Just turn on the news to get a sense for what I’m talking about.
A good number of these songs were played in yoga classes that I’ve gone to as frequently as I can throughout all of this. The practice has brought me calm, community and strength. My confidence in my physical balance has been compromised throughout this journey, and while challenging, achieving different poses in yoga classes has helped me rebuild that a bit. Often led by this wonderful teacher who happens to have a phenomenal taste in music that I borrow inspiration from, I’m reminded in class to be courageous and embrace my own imperfections. And I take this next quote from Brené Brown quite literally: “When I see people stand fully in their truth, or when I see someone fall down, get back up, and say, ‘Damn. That really hurt, but this is important to me and I’m going in again’—my gut reaction is, ‘What a badass.’” So I fall, I get up, and I keep working on my badass self. And for what it’s worth, I’m having fun finding badass new songs for December already, so I think I’m making progress!
There’s more in there, but I want to leave some for you to find or interpret on your own. With that, if you’ve listened to the music, thank you. If you’ve read these words, thank you once more. And if you’ve read these words without any judgment, thank you the most. Thanks for letting me share my feelings, my imperfections, and giving me the space to be a little courageous. It’s uncomfortable! But I hope you can hear a little more if and when you choose to listen to this and perhaps be reminded to be courageous and intentionally make space in your life for something you love as I have for music and writing. The title of Song 35 is for you.