Sarah Kinsley, Alice Merton, Saya, Lauv, Mondo Cozmo, Gabriella Marinaro, and A Beacon School are among these press releases for April.
Sarah Kinsley – “Hills Of Fire”: A hard-hitting pop song with anthemic ambitions, powerful orchestral arrangements, and soaring and alluring vocals by New York-based singer/songwriter Sarah Kinsley. The video accompanying the single was shot on location in Connecticut and directed by her fellow Columbia University student, and frequent creative collaborator Lux. Of the song, Kinsley recalls, “The King had just been put forth into the world. Never had my music reached such heights, so many people, so many ears, so many minds. My family and I had run to the other coast, in part to drive towards sunsets and valleys, and on the other hand, to drive away from the noise around The King. I remember being completely and utterly surrounded by blue: we drove up a steep hill—where it felt that if you eased up on the gas for just a moment the entire car might slowly begin to slide back down—and even now I can see my father laughing as we ascend up the path. ‘Sarah, look! It’s like we’re…driving into the sky!’ ‘Hills Of Fire’ was born here. In my birthplace, California. It was within this moment, along with others, that I could feel that the next body of musical work I would write and create would be centered around this unraveling, the growth of uncertainty, the unknowing.” “‘Hills Of Fire’ captured the resurgence of that feeling, when the daunting tide of possibility feels so close to your fingertips and your eyes and nose that you can smell the salt of what could be and what might be, that anything and everything feels within reach,” Kinsley adds. “This track holds that pinnacle of light for me, it’s the reckoning of the un-conquering of space within my mind, the deciphering of what lays behind, the calling, the beckoning of the new. I can’t stay the king forever. A possibility always holds this double-edged-ness to it, the relinquishing of the past and the embrace of the ever-moving future, the burning horizon of the beyond. This lives within ‘Hills Of Fire,’ seeps into its atmosphere. Every sonic element, every punch of percussion, every soaring individual violin layer I’ve recorded from my apartment, every rolling synth, is drenched in the sweetness of possibility. There is nothing else but this overpowering feeling. Can we make it out?” In conjunction with her new music, Kinsley will perform a select run of headlining tour dates this summer.
Alice Merton – “Blindside”: A piercing powerhouse over catchy and dense rhythms; this is an alt-pop song with an electronic explosion of energy and a weird horror video. Speaking on the track, Alice wrote: “I wrote this song with Tobias Kuhn who I previously wrote ‘Trouble in Paradise’ with on MINT. It was a joy working with him, his energy in the studio is always incredible and uplifting. We both had so much fun creating this. ‘Blindside’ is probably one of my favorite songs on this album. It’s so earnest and dark but at the same time so fun and uplifting to listen to. It mixes such a serious topic with such a fun feeling, something I love doing when writing songs.” Continuing on the song’s music video, she wrote: “I worked with Sander Houtkruijer on this video. He and I both have a soft spot for dark and strange videos. I showed him the song about a year ago and asked if I ever did a video to it if he’d like to do it. Luckily he liked the song and here we are a year later. We sat down and talked about the idea behind the song. I explained to him that I had felt inferior to someone I had spent a lot of time working with in the past. I never felt like I was treated with the same respect I had offered, and that I was constantly being given ultimatums. We came up with two characters whose relationship with each other is very complicated and perhaps incomprehensible to the outside. It displays a very dark and dominating feeling that overshadows the love they have for each other. We wanted to then make the characters quite obscure and add a little bit of an Ingmar Bergman aesthetic.” This is another single off her eagerly anticipated sophomore album “S.I.D.E.S.” to be released on June 17th via Mom + Pop.
Saya -“NOVOCAINE”: A sort of Lana Del Rey vibe because of the sultry vocals soaring over a vast and immersive soundscape of electronic swirls and beats, while providing an R&B inspiration to the track. The Toronto-based alt-pop artist has shared her long-awaited EP “READY TO BURN,” which sees Saya at her most confident, with the tracks ranging from dark dance floor anthems to more vulnerable songs about all-consuming love. After being signed to a major label and finding overnight success, Saya took a break from releasing music for a few years. She returns triumphant and more confident than ever. “Ready To Burn was a project I started writing in 2019 that made me fall back in love with making music,” she declared. The EP continues the themes of Saya reclaiming her power, pushing the boundaries of genre, and breaking out of the projections previously placed upon her. After everything she’s been through, one thing remains clear: Saya is here to stay.
Lauv – “All 4 Nothing (I’m So In Love)”: Helium-processed vocals for a simple but hooky pop song that has already gathered more than 9 million streams on Spotify and a few other millions on Youtube. On the inspiration behind the new single, Lauv shares “All 4 Nothing (I’m So In Love)” is a song about loving someone so much at a time in your life when you’re still in the process of learning how to love yourself and being scared how your own personal insecurities could ruin a love that is and could be so genuine and transformative. In essence, it’s a song about surrendering to love and life.” The single serves as the title track of Lauv’s highly anticipated second full-length album, “All 4 Nothing,” set to be released in August. The multi-Platinum and chart-topping singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Lauv has also released a video for the single. Directed by Hannah Lux Davis (Ariana Grande, Doja Cat), the stunning video encapsulates the giddy and weightless feeling of first falling in love. On the video shoot, Lauv declared “shooting the video with Hannah Lux Davis was an amazing, eye-opening experience which has not only pushed the boundaries of how I see myself as an artist but also as a clear example of the true artist that Hannah herself is and her ability to bring those things out in the artists she works with. It surpassed every dream I could’ve had for shooting a video for this song.” On his upcoming album, All 4 Nothing, Lauv opened up like never before to expand his signature sound. He focused on the storytelling and crafted an immersive and irresistible body of work steeped in moments of nostalgia, conflict, and ultimately, self-empowerment. Lauv’s North American headline tour will kick off on August 11.
Mondo Cozmo – “WW3”: a new song off Mondo Cozmo’s, aka Josh Ostrander, third full-length album “This is for the Barbarians,” released via Last Gang a few weeks ago. The song is delivered with passionate and poignant vocals along with some vast and ambitious orchestration. The album recognizes that death and life can be celebrated synchronically, pulling the darkness in to find the light inside, discovering grandeur in life’s most intimate moments. “It’s bright and funny, the human experience in a year of isolation,” Ostrander says. “It’s a slice of my liver and a piece of my heart. This is for the people going through the darkness like I’ve been going through. Is anybody else out there hurting, or mad, or scared out of their mind? We’re in this together.” “WW3” was written during the pandemic, long before the current struggle in Ukraine, though he felt a need to change some of the track’s original lyrics and leaned on a hero and friend for advice – Bruce Springsteen. “There was a line in the chorus I was concerned about with the situation in Ukraine,” he notes. “Shortly before the song was prepared to come out, I sent the song to Bruce Springsteen and asked him what his thoughts were. He said that if it was possible, change it.” Mondo Cozmo is currently on the road supporting The Airborne Toxic Event.
Gabriella Marinaro – “Goodnight Moon”: A jazz-pop inspiration for a freeing and original song slowly sprawling around Marinaro’s interesting vocals. “The track is about letting that person know that it’s over – only to be pulled back in. This song reflects the triumphant feeling of freeing yourself from toxicity and regaining your individualism and freedom. When you let that person know you are no longer happy and that you know it’s over, you take back your power.” Her upcoming EP, “INNER SPACE,” out on May 6, produced by Stefan Skarbek (former Amy Winehouse producer) and mixed and mastered by Grammy-nominated engineers David Kim and James Krausse, reflects the many shades of the artist’s struggle returning to Los Angeles after living in Rome, her battle with mental health and how that was reflected in her relationships. “While I tried to collaborate and make sense of my music, it was creatively disheartening when the priority for the producers was trying to make a ‘hit’. I am a bit all over the place and this EP is a way to make sense of myself and to close a memorable chapter of my life that I think a lot of people can relate to. Your mind and thoughts are your own and you are living in your INNER SPACE,” Gabriella said. While she knows how to create a distinctive sound using fresh beats with unlikely samples, Gabriella’s lyrical message of empowerment of her self-identified “sad girl” serves to openly challenge the conventions that have stifled countless numbers of badass women’s creative flow in male-dominated niches of music.
A Beacon School -“Dot”: An eerie shoegazing soundscape with dreamy vocals, airy electronic, and sparse guitar chords growing into a more buoyant, frenetic to psychedelic pace after a few minutes, taking a meditative pause and building up again. This is a new song by multi-instrumentalist A Beacon School. On the track, he says: “‘Dot’ is a song about seeing patterns in your life emerge but feeling helpless to change them. The song oscillates between these moments of unfiltered wonder and inspiration and the immediate skepticism that follows them.” A Beacon School is the dream-pop project of New York-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Patrick J. Smith. The songs that he has released on his full-length debut, “Cola,” alternate between up-tempo, jangly pop nuggets, and lush shoegaze. “Dot” marks the first A Beacon School release in three years and coincides with a headlining performance at The Sultan Room in Brooklyn, signaling a long-awaited new full-length is on the horizon.
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1972 (Volume 4, Number 5)
We leap ahead almost a year
A flatout triumph from a major performer
New Wave pop bliss out
I WISH I HADN’T GONE
a time-capsule type of roster
Creem -America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – November 1971 (Volume 3, Number 6)
“Sure, we don’t pay much but then who else do ya know who’ll publish you?”
in the immortal words of Jason Isbell to me at Gov Ball a coupla years ago: “let’s do this…”
one of the great top tens of the 2020
old school Puerto Rican underground sounds
a masterful pop about loving a drug addict