The Dip, Wovvoka, Samora Pinderhughes, NAKAYA, System Exclusive, Michelle Willis, Florence + The Machine are among these press releases for February.
The Dip -“Real Contender”: A charming pop song with bright vocals, harmonies, a full orchestration of horns, and an overall vintage vibe. Reflecting on the song, lead singer Tom Eddy shares, “This track is about being an unlikely candidate for someone’s affection. Perhaps a longtime friend. Someone who was there all along but never had the guts to reveal their heart and put their name in the hat. Then they realize that life is too short to keep those kinds of feeling bottled up, and they go for it.” “Real Contender” is the third song unveiled from The Dip’s anticipated new album, “Sticking With It,” which will be released March 4 via Dualtone Records—the band’s first record in partnership with the label. The album is an intimate examination of the human heart, reflecting on matters both timely and irrefutably timeless, capturing the mood of the current moment while simultaneously offering a much-needed escape. Of the album, drummer Jarred Katz shares, “It’s really important to us to catch those lightning-in-a-bottle moments when you can feel the momentum of a song taking shape…one of the main goals for the album was to create that feeling of all of us in a room together, instead of worrying too much about everything lining up perfectly,” while Eddy adds, “With the lyrics, I tried to evoke certain emotions that aren’t often showcased in popular music, with the hope that people will come away feeling validated or understood.”
Wovvoka – “GANG!!!”: An aggressive and raucous rap song in full assault mode by emerging Illinois-based rapper Wovvoka. It’s very short, but it goes to the essential in less than 2 minutes. Of the song, Wovvoka calls it “ruthless” while furthering “it’s something unknown.” Wovvoka is a vocalist, songwriter, and producer who was born and raised in the rural town of Lebanon, Illinois. She originally began making music almost on a whim after attending a friend’s recording session and feeling drawn to the mic and pen. Her music-making ability came as a natural evolution for someone who grew up writing poetry and was raised watching her mom sing in church. Interestingly, she cites James Brown and M83 as her biggest influences, which shows her very eclectic tastes. Following the release of her attention-grabbing 2021 debut single, “Right Foot,” the breakout artist signed a deal with Donald Glover’s Wolf + Rothstein setting the stage for more music to come this year. The new single comes with a wild video.
Samora Pinderhughes – “Masculinity”: A sad and emotive piano piece that doesn’t lack passion while evolving into a more complex musical number. The song is accompanied by a beautiful +7-minute movie with spoken words extending the piece with a remarkable sax solo. This is the work of composer, filmmaker, and interdisciplinary artist Samora Pinderhughes whose highly anticipated new album “GRIEF” is slated for release on April 15 via Stretch Music, Christian Scott’s imprint at Ropeadope. The album is part of his years-long multi-media effort on loss, structural violence, and possibilities for healing and liberation, “The Healing Project,” which consists of three parts: a physical exhibition, a digital archive, and finally an album. “GRIEF” is the most personal part of The Healing Project for Pinderhughes, who wrote all the songs and makes his official debut as a singer on the album. Written in the spirit of music from the ’60s and ’70s by artists like Nina Simone and Curtis Mayfield who made powerful statements about life and social justice through their music, “GRIEF” aims to evoke feeling through texture and harmony by underlining the human voice as a bonding agent. The album features an ensemble—Marcus Gilmore (drums), Brad Allen Williams (guitar), Boom Bishop (electric bass), Clovis Nicolas (upright bass), Immanuel Wilkins (alto sax), Lucas Pino (tenor sax), Elena Pinderhughes (flute), Argus Quartet (strings), Nio Levon (vocals), Jehbreal Jackson (vocals) and Pinderhughes himself on piano, production and vocals—and a rhythm section with the rare combination of two bassists playing at the same time. Additionally, The Healing Project’s physical exhibition will show at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from March 25 to June 19.
NAKAYA – “Try”: An ethereal soundscape with NAKAYA’s cool vocals and funky instrumental, while the track navigates between electronica and a vague R&B feel. “Try” is the first track off her upcoming project, “Fire Becomes Me,” due April 1, via Better Company Records. The song comes alongside an accompanying music video. Speaking on the single and her upcoming project, NAKAYA wrote: “Fire Becomes Me is a project about growth and resilience as it chronicles Nakaya’s journey towards self-acceptance. The lead single, ‘Try’ was penned nearly 7 years prior to its release and details an internal battle between diminishing self-talk and reality. Nakaya says about its forthcoming release, “it felt like a natural progression to share this now when the demons I once fought in my head have finally silenced. There is nostalgia and kindness in the way I understand ‘Try’ now that I’m stronger in my identity.” NAKAYA uses truthful and poignant lyrics to speak to her experiences traversing multiple marginalized identities; she works to provide a voice for those who lack representation in the alternative music sphere.
System Exclusive – “Game of the Fool”: Throbbing pulsing beats, surf guitars, synth, and ferociously sweet female vocals for an infectious rock track injected into a post-punk dancefloor. This is the latest single of System Exclusive off their forthcoming debut self-titled album, due March 4, via Castle Face Records. Speaking on the single and its accompanying music video, Ari Blaisdell wrote: “Definitely one of my favorite songs on the album despite it being about the cycle of abuse, and how hard it is to watch when someone you love has fallen into that cycle. A pretty sad song lyrically but with a dancy fun overtone, because life is like that; multiple opposing things at once. During lockdown, I was eager to make a video for this song but we couldn’t go anywhere so I thought about ways I could integrate public domain footage into it. I’ve always been fascinated by the atomic era and atomic bomb propaganda footage just fit the current mood so well. It’s compiled of footage from ‘Survival Under Atomic Attack,’ ‘A is for Atom,’ ‘Atomic Alert,’ ‘Duck and Cover,’ and of course footage from our last show at Permanent Records Roadhouse, one of our favorite venues in LA. Filmed by our pal Enrique Pena Pedilla after we were finally allowed to play live again.” System Exclusive’s multi-genre/time period collision is described by Henry Rollins “like a car accident where all parties walk away not only unscathed but sure they had a great time, like two different recording sessions sharing the same space and making it work.” They have also announced a North American tour, set to begin next month.
Michelle Willis – “Trigger”: Warm soulful harmonies for a slowly sprawling melancholic duet ballad featuring Taylor Ashton. This is the new single off acclaimed singer-songwriter and keyboard player Michelle Willis’s upcoming full-length, “Just One Voice,” out April 8 on GroundUp Music. “‘Trigger’ is about being your own worst enemy. It’s an attempt to talk some sense into myself and people I love, to wake up and recognize no one but themselves are holding them back,” Willis says. “Turning it into a duet gave the song more of a story, like two people in a relationship calling each other out.” “Just One Voice” was written during the intensity of non-stop travel, penned from the cramped seats of buses, planes, and countless green rooms. One night, out on the open road, Willis played the title track for Crosby, her mentor, and bandmate, who urged, “No one else sounds like this. This is you. You have to make this record.” Shortly thereafter she was able to secure a prestigious grant from the Canada Council for the Arts which set the recording process in motion. The forthcoming album, produced with Fab Dupont (Andre 3000, Gregory Porter), features guest performances by Ashton, David Crosby, Michael McDonald, Grégoire Maret, and Becca Stevens. The song comes with a video.
Florence + The Machine –“King”: From soft vocals and steady beats, the song soon moves to full theatrics well served by Florence Welch’s powerhouse and a video with dazzling special effects directed by acclaimed director Autumn de Wilde. “King” is a meditation on womanhood, family, femininity, and the subverting of expectations in which Florence Welch declares: “I am no mother, I am no bride, I am king”. “As an artist, I never actually thought about my gender that much,” Florence says. “I just got on with it. I was as good as the men and I just went out there and matched them every time. But now, thinking about being a woman in my 30s and the future, I suddenly feel this tearing of my identity and my desires. That to be a performer, but also to want a family might not be as simple for me as it is for my male counterparts. I had modeled myself almost exclusively on male performers, and for the first time I felt a wall come down between me and my idols as I have to make decisions they did not.”
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