Sunnsetter, Kelela, Sabrina Song, Chiiild, Letdown., Ella Vos, and Candi Carpenter are the artists among these press releases for December.
Sunnsetter – “Float In Circles”: Sun-drenched guitars, layers of synth, and expansive production for a dreamy psychedelic track. This is a brand new single from Sunnsetter — the solo project of multi-instrumentalist, composer, recording engineer and Zoon/OMBIIGIZI collaborator Andrew McLeod. Speaking on the track, which was written largely as a way to process feelings of grief and guilt following the loss of a close friend and bandmate, McLeod wrote: “It’s the song that to me sonically and thematically represents much of the last few years of my life, the experimentations with music but also the overwhelming feelings of grief and guilt I had placed on myself over the loss of a close friend. None of it really made any sense until I wrote this track and realized this record and everything that’s happened in my life since their passing needed to be in tribute to them. I needed to recognize for myself that I can find a way to live beyond that grief and self-inflicted guilt. Find ways to hold myself accountable to myself, and change what I could for the better of myself and the people I love. This is what they would have encouraged me to do.” The song is accompanied by a music video and stay tuned for more, coming soon via Paper Bag.
Kelela – “On the Run”: A mellow and languid R&B soundscape with house beats and Kelela’s ethereal vocals. This is the third single off her upcoming album “RAVEN” which is set to be released on February 10 via Warp. Kelela has also shared a new video for the track, and since its release, “On the Run” has been regaled for its “quiet brilliance” and “new flavor.” Collaborating with director Lee Wei Swee for the visual, the song’s sultry sonics are brought to life in a joyride video with her co-star and one of the song’s producers, Bambii. With a personal style as visually kaleidoscopic as her genre-wielding music, Kelela has established herself as a vanguard of sonic and aesthetic innovation. Thoughtfully intermixing elegance, futurism, divinity, and sensuality, Kelela’s unique perspective has carved a lane that demonstrates style as both a component of art and art in and of itself. Alongside the video Kelela announces her RAVEN tour beginning March 16, in support of her highly anticipated sophomore album.
Sabrina Song – “Down”: A very delicate and melancholic piano-driven song executed with deeply emotive and soulful vocals. This is a track off “When It All Comes Crashing Down,” the third EP by Brooklyn-based alt-pop singer-songwriter Sabrina Song. The EP, produced, written, and engineered by Song herself, is a tender, observational glimpse at the artist’s assessment of relationships in her life where she discovers her own strength as she learns to advocate for herself, further solidifying both her sound and sense of self. Song explains, “‘When It All Comes Crashing Down’ represents a personal and musical evolution for me. The majority of my songwriting prior to this project was extremely inward-facing, working through my internal issues, insecurities, doubts, and streams of consciousness. I began writing this project at the end of college and finished writing it by the end of last year. It was a period of rapid growth and transformation for me, and for the first time in a long time, I felt real security in who I am as a person and artist. I found the ability to turn outward and begin evaluating my relationship dynamics, holding people accountable that I’ve let walk over me in the past, and being the best person I can be in the friendships and relationships that I hold dearly in my life. The result is four songs that find me trying to advocate for myself in my romantic and platonic relationships, and find a stronger sense of self and happiness.” Speaking to the project’s title and its production, Song adds, “’When It All Comes Crashing Down’” is a kind of hyperbolic way of saying that sometimes you need to let certain people and stressors go in order to make room for the ones you really care about. In terms of production, I ventured out of my comfort zone by creating new sounds, experimenting with playing guitar and bass elements on my songs for the first time, and practicing restraint at the same time.” The project was mixed by Daniel Neiman, mastered by Gabi Grella, and includes bass playing by Garrett Chabot, cello by Kate O’Mara, viola by Luke Quintanilla, and string arranging by Emma Botti.”Down” is an achingly honest track in which Song bares her innermost fears about falling in love over spacious, deliberate piano keys. Diving into the meaning of the track, Song explains, “Down” is a worst-fear song for me. When you fall in love with someone and it’s going really well, they’re entering your life when you’re at your best. This song asks “What happens when they experience me at my lowest? Will they want to stay?” I’m terrified of bringing someone down with me that I care about, and imagine a scenario where all they feel is pity and distance. I’m also afraid of becoming a burden for someone, and would rather “leave them wanting more than getting sick of me,” as I state in the song.” Sonically, Song adds, “I wanted the arrangement to feel somber and stark, with isolated strings rather than a moving symphonic arrangement.” Its accompanying powerful, metaphor-filled video directed by Isabella Danzi depicts Song first behind a piano, then cuts to Song donning a ballet leotard under a spotlight with a group of ballerinas moving swiftly together in the shadows behind Song. Providing insight into the inspiration for the visual, Danzi explains, “In much of her work, Sabrina closely explores the theme of being her own biggest threat––in this case meeting someone at your high and wondering if they’ll still be there at your low. I wanted to recreate the moment Sabrina wrote “Down”: the stillness, her radiance, letting the song come out in one breath, and the bond between her and the piano. I wanted to dramatize her darker thoughts and fears––facing herself in the mirror, the ballerina’s perfection and precision moving in and out of shadows, taunting her.” Song adds the video plays into her own precision, perfectionism, and vulnerability when it comes to relationships, using the ballerinas to embody such techniques. “We wanted to keep the video for ‘Down’ very intimate and simple. There’s something about watching ballet that requires the audience to buy into the fantasy; there is so much technical precision and physical exertion, years and years of training, but they make everything look effortless. I’ve always been a perfectionist, or at the very least had very high standards for myself, but I tend to play down that effort at the same time.” Song continues, “‘Down’ is basically about how that perfectionism affects my relationships and my ability to be fully present and vulnerable, and the video carries through that metaphor.”
Chiiild – “You Get Me (A Final Word)”: A futuristic, pensive and eerie pop song bending genres, opening expansive soundscapes while staying rather intimate. The contemplative track creates a dreamily pensive soundscape that offers further insight into the world Chiiild has created for this project. This is the newest track from Chiiild’s forthcoming album “Better Luck in the Next Life.” Chiiild shares the following about the track: “I was just trying to have a conversation with you. Simply and honestly. No fluff, just insight, in hopes that you get me.” Meanwhile, he has announced a headlining North American tour kicking off March 2 in California and stopping in major cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and many more. Chiiild previously released “Bon Voyage,” the first single from “Better Luck in the Next Life” which offered a first glimpse into the album, which serves as an in-depth exploration of creative freedom, personal equilibrium, and a return home. The track’s stripped-down instrumental and deep-rooted reverb places Chiiild’s rich vocals and introspective lyrics in the spotlight, taking listeners on a journey through his world. “Better Luck In The Next Life” will be the follow-up project to Chiiild’s 2021 debut album “Hope for Sale,” which upon release was met with critical acclaim and has amassed over 58 million streams to date. The album was nominated for Alternative Album of the Year at the 2022 JUNO Awards, and Chiiild was also named one of VEVO’s 2022 DSCVR Artists to Watch.
Letdown. – “Ugly”: A soaring pop song that sounds completely mainstream-radio-ready. The track features Kelsy Karter & The Heroines and encompasses the types of thoughts related to self-image and how we perceive ourselves and details the internal strife that heavily informs Blake Coddington of Letdown.’s songwriting. “This song is a literal depiction of how I feel about myself,” Letdown. says. “It may be a dichotomy between the actual person that I am and the person that I see in the mirror as my flaws are sometimes all I see. As I try to disassociate from the me that I hate, I also struggle with the reality that we are one and the same.” The song comes with a music video. In 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, the Chicago/Nashville-based rocker launched Letdown. (period included), a new project that features his powerful range of vocals and deeply personal lyrics over catchy guitar hooks and hypnotizing drum beats. Or in Coddington’s words, “It’s just me crying about my problems.” But while the songwriter — who could pass as Jason Momoa playing the lead role in a film about rock ‘n roll — may be a little facetious in the description of his own music, Coddington’s mental health struggles have served as a primary creative focus for Letdown. thus far. The Big Loud Rock artist is looking to share his experiences to let others know that they’re not alone in their own struggles, and he’s found a home already in large swathes of the internet.
Ella Vos – “Mountain”: A light synth-pop song with sensual vocals and a very sexy appeal. This new track, co-written by Vos with husband Tommy English and Nate Campany (Caroline Polachek, Rina Sawayama, Dua Lipa), debuts alongside a video directed by Kate Rentz and created with an all-women team in the Angeles National Forest. “The mountain behind my house gives me lots of feelings,” says Vos. “She can be overwhelming, and she is grand, ominous, and beautiful. In comparing myself to the mountain, she reminds me that I am strong, resilient, and even gorgeous. I’ve been working on being gentler to myself and reminding myself that I’ve survived a lot and have come out stronger on the other side. Mountain is about finding power in self-love.” The new track follows Vos’ latest single “Glitter and Tears,” which debuted in October and was later reworked by Thai-American singer and actress Myra Molloy. More music from Ella Vos is imminent.
Candi Carpenter – “Exorcist”: A well-crafted story-telling song written with raw honesty and plenty of vibrant details. The song begins a new creative chapter for Carpenter, who is leaving their country roots for the alternative/pop space where they feel most authentically themself. “Exorcist” is the first song unveiled from Carpenter’s anticipated new album and inspired the creation of the project itself. The new record is set for release in 2023. Of the song, Carpenter shares, “‘Exorcist’ is the first song I wrote for my new project and is the first song I’d ever written that felt painfully and viscerally like me. My co-producers Peter Shurkin and Alden Witt helped me heal through the process of writing this album. They called me on my bullshit, and sat with me for hundreds of hours while I poured my heart out, and sobbed into my laptop. They pushed me to be fearless and open and painstakingly honest. I discovered myself because of this project.” “Exorcist” was written by Carpenter and Witt and mixed by Adam Hawkins (Demi Lovato, Machine Gun Kelly, Avril Lavigne).
the true Godfather Giannini Russo
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her best since “Milionària”
dip yourself deep in sonic hellaciousness and disquiet
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – December 1982 (Volume 14, Number 7)
“If you’re black you have to play a certain type of music”
“I can’t think of a better way to spend my 90th birthday”
What better gift for a Baby Boomer loved one?