Safety Town, Surfliner, Willow Kanye, Sean Rowe, Danielle Eva Schwob, SonReal, Pretty Awkward are among these press releases for August.
Safety Town – ‘Bloom’: A pulsating ethereal synth-pop with a memorable melodic soundscape and luminous textural arrangements. This vibrant dream pop tune is the new single from Chicago-based electropop outfit Safety Town, the moniker of Chicago-based Jackson Davis. A debut LP, ‘Fake It’ will be out on November 12 via Earth Libraries. The sonic palette of ‘Fake It’ sounds airy, upbeat, and soothing, although a good deal of anxiety and worry permeates the songs. ‘A lot of this album, to be honest, is about anxiety and navigating the future,’ Davis says. ‘I never took what I was doing that seriously and the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized how many other artists have felt that same confusion about what they do. That revelation was really liberating in learning to go with the flow and have fun with it.’ ‘I’m not writing direct code for the music, but coding and software are focused on functions and units of work that can accomplish something,’ adds Davis. ‘The real work is how you tie them together – it’s about the connectivity between elements.’
Surfliner – ‘Above Water’: A laid-back, poolside-hot summer-nights track with a nonchalant atmosphere, a vintage vibe with acoustic guitar and flutes. This is a song off ‘Toadstool Tropics,’ the latest EP from Massachusetts-based indie outfit Surfliner. Carrying the introspective and upbeat energy from August’s ‘Psychic Blues’ LP, Toadstool Tropics expands on ideas of balance, the neutrality of nature, and death, delivering 5 dynamic tracks varying in sound and color. ‘Toadstool Tropics’ is a tidal pool for your ears and mind. It’s a temporary stop, a miniature universe to hang out in and explore whatever you’d like to inside for your brain. It’s not meant to change your world, or even interact with your life, it’s a refuge for you. It doesn’t belong to a time, or an era, it just is right now. The EP only exists in the moment you’re sitting in the toadstool tropics tide pool, waiting for a wave to buffet you back into life. ‘Toadstool Tropics’ is released on North By South Records, the label of the band which consists of Tyler Wyatt and Sam Worley, two young musicians from the choppy coastline of South Shore Massachusetts. Surfliner hits the stage as a 6-piece band and the band’s live act will keep you on your toes.
Willow Kanye – ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’: A bouncy rave-party-ready pop song with an EDM flair, an infectious chorus, and Willow’s youthful and sped-up vocals. Teaming up with UK hitmaker Oscar Scheller, ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ takes the attitude Willow has started to become synonymous with and ramps it up to 11 – taking cues from the old school rave culture that she is obsessed with by sticking a middle finger up to trolls over a drum & bass indebted production. It’s a high-energy example of just how unpredictable a talent Willow is, and how easy she makes it look; the track is packed with hilarious one-liners that cut those who have bullied her online to size. An empowering anthem that deals with real-life issues with a sense of confidence that feels refreshing in the landscape of pop today. The 19-year-old Willow signed with Sony this year and released her major-label debut single ‘2 Seater.’ Willow can trace this eclecticism directly back to her childhood, being raised by a hip-hop-and-house-obsessed father and a mother who produced videos for the likes of Erasure and the Prodigy. James Brown, Nas, and MF DOOM were all significant early influences, and soon she was making her own musical discoveries, falling hard for artists as diverse as Tyler The Creator, the Sex Pistols, Gorillaz, and Portishead.
Sean Rowe – ‘To Make It Real’: With emotive and vibrant vocals à la Brandon Flowers/Bono, the song begins with a traditional folk-rock sound, evolving into a more complex soundscape, while the strong vocals always stay front row during the anthemic track with a buoyant orchestration. Internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Sean Rowe has announced his forthcoming LP ‘The Darkness Dressed in Colored Lights,’ set for release on October 8th via Fluff & Gravy Records. ‘Sonically, I was very much influenced by Radiohead’s In Rainbows with the feel of this track and the direction of the instrumentation,’ Rowe explains. ‘Lyrically — this is for me — a kind of recurring theme that I find in many of my songs. Which is to say that I’m alluding to the duality that I feel is in all of us. All the hidden parts and all the guts that spill out when we’re faced with tragedy, adversity, or a broken heart.’ Rowe, an artist and nomad at heart, has made himself into the perfect repository for spun yarns of every variety — hysterical, terrifying, heartbreaking, mystifying, and ridiculous — and on this record, he makes it clear that at some point it’s hard not to feel them all at once. ‘The Darkness Dressed in Colored Lights’ was produced by Rowe’s friend and longtime collaborator Troy Pohl, whom he has known since he was in his early twenties while Pohl was still a teen. The two grew into their professionalism together and here, they make the most of their combined ambition and experience.
Danielle Eva Schwob – ‘Slow’: A dark composition for strings and cello, a very cinematic piece by acclaimed composer, performer, and producer Danielle Eva Schwob, featuring renowned ensemble PUBLIQuartet. The new work arrives alongside a video directed by photographer, director, and multi-disciplinary artist James Mountford (BANKS, Ciara, Chance the Rapper), and follows the first movement of the quartet, ‘Fast.’ This is the second offering from Schwob’s debut full-length album as a composer in the classical realm, ‘Out of the Tunnel,’ out August 13 via Innova Recordings. ‘The second movement for ‘Out of the Tunnel’ is my favorite, in that it is the calm between two storms and feels to me the closest representation of the way in which I experience the transformative powers of nature,’ Schwob says. ‘The music was written at a moment of pivotal change in my life, shortly after I relocated to Los Angeles. In confronting all of the disorientation that moving gives rise to, I found myself seeking stable footing in the natural world. To me, the first and last movements are the move itself—the long fast drive, the whirlwind of change, the action-movie-inspired excitement—but it’s this one that’s the soul. The connection to the earth, to the origins of the planet, to ourselves, and the perspective on our own time on this spinning rock formation, flickering with its astronomical flukes of life, that nature can grant us if we pause long enough to look for it.’
SonReal – ‘bananas’: A hip-hop-inspired pop song that blends both genres without never deciding on one or the other. The video shows him lighting himself on fire, faking engagements and exotic vacations, getting KO’d, and ultimately learning he’s unable to fly. ‘All I remember with creating ‘bananas’ was absolutely losing my mind in the studio. I did like 5 verses on that song just because the beat slapped so hard. It’s one of those records you want to perform live as soon as it’s recorded,’ SonReal says. He has an inherent and candid ability to blend alternative pop and rap with soul, hip hop, and pure pop-influenced vibes. He even pays homage to his influences such as Mac Miller (‘When I heard that Malcolm died / I put my head against the wall’). From the melody and lyrics to the artwork and careful attention to detail in the creative direction, Bananas reminds us to chill out, work hard, and give thanks to the little things in life. It’s all we’ve got.
Pretty Awkward – ‘Hangout’: A playful song with a hooky chorus going to sweet bombast. This is a track by Seattle-based indie group Pretty Awkward, formed by Austin Held [lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano], Nicholas Wiggins [bass, piano, backing vocals], Jake Jones [lead guitar, backing vocals], and Damien Ward [drums]. ‘Hangout is easily one of the most fun songs to play live because it’s such a feel-good vibe.’ Austin Held said. ‘The video was easily the most fun I’ve ever had making a music video,’ he added. ‘It’s a song about just hanging out and doing whatever you feel like doing with a friend or loved one or with whomever. We really wanted to make a fun-to-watch video with scenes that we could make a mess out of and I believe we accomplished that. We were spoiled with an awesome location, an amazingly creative director (Dylan Fout), crazy talented actors, and I got to chill in a pool on a sloth floaty singing my song with my friends. Pretty perfect if you ask me.’ ‘Does it get any better than just hanging out with the ones you love? It really doesn’t. Our music video for ‘Hangout’ expresses exactly what we and our director Dylan Fout set out to portray. Some of the best moments of our lives when we look back are the ones just really doing anything with the people we care about most. That’s really what our band is all about. So hopefully we will see you soon, make some memories, and HANG OUT!’ Nicholas Wiggins added. This should convince you and look out for the band’s debut LP in early 2022.
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