Maren Morris, Hot Flash Heat Wave, Jewels Gold, MuMu, The Mary Veils, Doss, Cooper Kenward are the artists among these press releases for February.
Maren Morris – “Background Music:” A very quiet track with luminous instrumentation, slowly building up around Maren Morris’s powerhouse. “I wrote ‘Background Music’ about the beauty of the temporary, which is inevitably all things,” says Maren. “The romanticism of eternity sounds nice, but I like to think I savor things better when I know I’m not entitled to it in perpetuity. It’s a love song that addresses mortality but it’s also promising someone that even when we aren’t cool anymore, I want to grow old with them and laugh about the times we thought we were.” “Background Music” follows the lead single from Humble Quest, “Circles Around This Town,” which was the most-added track at country radio upon impact—currently Top 30 and climbing on country airplay charts—and broke Amazon Music’s record for most streams for a country song debut by a female artist. Written by Maren alongside previous collaborators Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz, the song is taken from Morris’ forthcoming album, “Humble Quest,” slated for release on March 25 on Sony Music Nashville’s Columbia Nashville imprint. Maren began writing the songs on Humble Quest at the beginning of the pandemic as a series of major life changes unfolded—new motherhood, an upended career, the death of a beloved friend and collaborator Michael Busbee, and more, further compounded by the lockdown. She felt control over life quickly slipping until she had an epiphany—she was never in control in the first place. This inspired her to reckon with the concept of humility as she thought about how the goal of appearing humble puts artists, especially women, in a box with unrealistic demands. Humble Quest documents Maren’s journey to redefining humility on her own terms as a grounded state of understanding one’s own truth rather than the capacity to appear authentic to others.
Hot Flash Heat Wave – “Bay Boys”: A hazy synth-pop track with dark vibes and morose vocals, which sounds like a direct inspiration from the ‘80s new wave. Speaking on the single, the band wrote: “‘Bay Boys’ is a biker gang allegory, the story of a wandering character who’s always seeking escape. The voice in the pre-chorus is like his conscience telling him he’s unfulfilled, but he’s idealized this life on the road and just keeps on running away. A particularly dark twist in a story I was reading left me in a heavy mood that inspired this song’s sort of ironic and a bit tragic 80s romance narrative.” The San Francisco trio’s (that consists of Adam Abildgaard, Nick Duffy, and Ted Davis) new album, “Sportswear,” is due on March 11, and continuing on the album, the band wrote: “’Sportswear; is a world of its own, a vision that encompasses not just music, but art, storytelling, and fashion as well. Sonically we felt drawn to elements from early goth, new wave, and house, taking them through our filter of indie, psychedelia, R&B, and modern pop. We were also inspired by the style and hyper-individualism of late 90s club culture and anime. The name Sportswear is a cheeky nod to this tapestry of influences and the disambiguation of trends and subculture, as they become commodified for mass appeal and lose their deeper meaning. Lyrically the record speaks to our personal life struggles and soul searchings as well as existential sensations and narrations.”
Jewels Gold – “Fond Memories”: A powerful and soulful new voice, showing impressive versatile vocal skills over simple piano lines… the wild passion of the delivery could be reminiscent of Fiona Apple’s original style. The song is the highly anticipated first single of the buzzing 21-year-old singer-songwriter— known by many for her viral TikTok covers and original performances. “Fond Memories” comes off her debut singles collection (due March 18) that features the majestic 6+ minute track, “Royalty / Life Is Meant To Be Lived,” inspired by Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and The Beatles’ “Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight.” Speaking on her debut single, Jewels says: “I wrote ‘Fond Memories’ to be the ultimate anti-love song. It’s about making your great escape from someone who held you back and finding a new sense of power.” For the next six weeks, Jewels will be sharing each of her six singles, along with a live video performance of each song. “I’m choosing to share my songs in their most natural form, and that’s exactly what this collection is,” said Jewels of the video collection. “I’m inviting everyone to be a part of the songs as they evolve. I want to bring every listener on the journey from live acoustic performances to produced anthems.” Watch the video for the first single here. In celebration of her debut, this month, Jewels is heading out on a short Northeast tour with Sofar Sounds, in addition to a headlining date in NYC on April 7.
MuMu – “Brooklyn Tonight (Unplugged)”: An acoustic version of Mumu’s single that was released in December, and the rework is just as good as the original version. Her sultry and agile vocals are accompanied by a sexy and playful funky instrumentation. The track was written and produced with Jamie Lawrence, with contributions by Jack Broza (guitar) and Carlos Henriquez (bass), who is best known for working with Wynton Marsalis. Speaking of the new track, MuMu wrote: “‘Brooklyn Tonight Unplugged’ was initially inspired by a friend asking me to write a song about being the only queer person in the room. Then my love brain took over and it turned into a queer lady love song because, well, we need more of those. This is an acoustic version of the original for those queer lady slow jammers.” Mumu is a Manhattan-based pop artist who has already played New York venues such as Rockwood Music Hall, Arlene’s Grocery, the Bitter End, and Bowery Electric — and toured in Australia and Ecuador. During the pandemic, Mumu spent much of her time upstate working with Lawrence, releasing new songs and live sessions at a lightning-fast clip, including her most recent track, the party-perfect “Brooklyn Tonight.” “The song is about being at a party in Brooklyn and wondering, ‘Why am I here? How am I going to get home with the F-ing F train down?’” she says. “And then, just when it seems like the worst night ever, I meet this beauteous human.”
The Mary Veils – “Eyes”: A raucous and fuzzy grungy number with thunderous psychedelia that stays upbeat and engaging like a ‘60s garage rock band with powerful amps. Speaking on the single, the band wrote: “The song is loosely based on something I read on Kelpius’s society of religious monks -a bunch of German doomsday fanatics from the 17th century who ended up living in a cave outside of Philadelphia. As well as incorrectly predicting the end of the world, Kelpius wrote his own music, and has been referred to as ‘Pennsylvania’s first composer.’ The riff was banging around for a while in my head, and we like the feeling of existential dread. Most people have eyes. Most use them for seeing. Believe half of what you see. Seeing isn’t always believing.” The band’s full-length debut is a scintillating ten-track exercise in punk-inflected garage rock, one that takes the raw energy that defined their first four-track EP, “Somewhere Over the Rowhome” and uses it as a foundation for Von Uff’s ultimate vision for the group. “We recorded a lot of these songs around the same time as the EP, so there’s a similar feel to them, but I think the songs on “Esoteric Hex” really fit together. There’s more of a cohesiveness to it. I feel like “Somewhere Over the Rowhome” was a good showcase of our sound, whereas “Esoteric Hex” is a complete piece of work.” “Esoteric Hex,” is due March 25 via PNKSLM Recordings.
Doss – “Jumpin’”: An intense and hypnotic dance track working like a remix with creepy vocals. It’s heavily club-ready and it could make a few people sweat on shaky dancefloors. “Jumpin’” is the first music of 2022 by New York artist, songwriter, and producer Doss. “‘Jumpin’’ is about letting go, getting lost, and the out-of-sequence memories of wobbling lights and vibrating floors going by like a slow-motion montage,” says Doss. “It’s going wherever the night takes you and being up for anything.” It comes with a visualizer here. Doss, who is known for her reworked Lady Gaga’s “Enigma” for the remix album Dawn of Chromatica, will support Yves Tumor on their North American tour this spring with dates including San Francisco, Chicago, and Detroit. Doss, who soundtracked cult New York label Eckhaus Latta’s Fall 2022 runway show with Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt this week, is also set to play at several festivals this summer including Electric Forest and Abysmal Fest in Los Angeles. Doss has made her name as an underground fixture with major supporters in big-name artists. SOPHIE, in particular, was a frequent collaborator. Lady Gaga, Grimes, Caroline Polachek, Porter Robinson, and a number of others have championed her for years—no surprise for an artist who, across just a few releases, has won so many admirers. Though her personal life has always been a bit of a mystery, Doss’ signature visual identity, like her music, often evokes the playful maximalism of the early 2000s with equal parts sincerity and humor.
Cooper Kenward – “In Due Time”: A mellow folky indie-pop ballad with crooning vocals, and sweet psych-influenced slow grooves. The pleasant and summery result comes from indie-folk singer-songwriter Cooper Kenward. Of the track, Cooper wrote: “‘In Due Time” is a meditation on death, the inevitable, and the silly affirmations we tell ourselves to survive. Producer engineer Robert Shelton (Luke Temple, Meernaa) plays a waterfall of synths while Andrew Maguire (Mirah, Vetiver) holds down a head-bopping groove over double drum machines. Additional wavy wah-wah guitar provided by Jason Roberts (Norah Jones, Bedouine). Backup Vocals by Carolina Chauffe (Hemlock). Baritone guitar by Carly Bond (Meernaa). Bass by James Riotto (John Vanderslice).”
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