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Ghost Orchard

Rainbow Music

    RIYL: The Microphones, Bon Iver, Lomelda, Vegyn, Hovvdy, Dijon.

    Follow up to 2019’s critically acclaimed ‘bunny’

    Sam Hall’s new album as ghost orchard, ‘rainbow music’, is a collage of patience and meditation. It’s filled with nuances as quietly imperceptible as the seasons, or the profound movement of time, where one day looking back you realize your whole spirit has shifted. Where 2019’s critically revered ‘bunny’ was a love letter to a romantic relationship, ‘rainbow music’ documents the culmination of Hall’s first personal experience with loss in several forms. At the end of 2020, his longterm childhood pet passed away, and with it the last continuing threads of familiarity between being a kid and adulthood. Still based in the Grand Rapids, Michigan town he’d grown up in, the static ease of familiar living seemed to be coming apart at the seams, as friends moved on to bigger cities, relationships shapeshifted and in a short period of time, another kitten he’d adopted passed away prematurely, leaving Hall to question the trajectory in which he himself was headed.

    Like “songs in the key of life,” the title ‘rainbow music’ refers to the myriad of colors and qualities within Hall that are refracted throughout. It’s a symbolization of hope and the aftermath, the flickering light at the end of the tunnel (or “when a rainbow shows up after a big storm”). “Wish I could have fun anymore,” Hall ruminates on “dancing”, as well as confessing he “wish he made more upbeat bangers.” But reality packs more of a punch, and this collection of songs sees him finally be at peace with the current state of affairs. Relatable to anyone who has contemplated what it means to settle down, or even just catch your breath in an era where anguish is commonplace, the release of ‘rainbow music’ is a happy ending in its own right, a marker of survival that remains close to the bone.

    TRACK LISTING

    01. Rest
    02. Jessamine
    03. Cursive
    04. Maisy
    05. Cut
    06. Soot
    07. Memory Storage
    08. Dancing
    09. Bruise
    10. Sweet Song
    11. Comfort (Rainbow)

    Divino Niño

    Last Spa On Earth

      Genre: Indie, Electronic, Latin. RIYL: Toro y Moi, Helado Negro, Rosalía, Tame Impala, Cuco.

      Divino Niño are no strangers to bold reinvention. When Camilo Medina and Javier Forero—friends whose bond dates back to their childhoods in Bogotá, Colombia—moved to Chicago and recruited guitarist Guillermo Rodriguez to form a band, they were psych-pop outsiders playing live shows with a drum machine. With the addition of drummer Pierce Codina, their 2019 breakthrough and debut LP for Winspear, Foam, solidified their place as local indie rock mainstays.

      Soon after, multi-instrumentalist Justin Vittori joined to round out their lineup. Once again, with their masterful, unpredictable, and eminently danceable new album, the band has done something radical: They totally upended the way they write songs, eschewing practice room jams for unrelentingly collaborative beats, implied grooves for immersive dance floor heaters, and mellow vibes for frenetic doses of reggaeton, electropop, and trap on their most adventurous and ambitious work to date.

      Welcome to the Last Spa on Earth. Written and recorded over the past two years, Last Spa on Earth deals in release and catharsis: confronting your darkest moments and coming out better for it. The album artwork, done by Medina, a longstanding visual artist, depicts a dreamy, yet graffiti-tagged spa, void of physical bodies so listeners can envision themselves in this unique environment. It represents the yin and yang approach Divino Niño took while creating the album: the serenity of the spa and the chaos of the party. Ultimately, the band’s desire is to provide healing in the same way one feels after sweating, shivering, stretching, and resting at the spa against the backdrop of the world’s darkness. Last Spa on Earth is the cathartic product of Divino Niño letting go of their musical preconceptions, past traumas, and future anxieties to embrace change, chaos, and each other’s contributions both to these songs and to each other.

      TRACK LISTING

      01. LSE
      02. Nos Soltamos
      03. Tu Tonto
      04. XO
      05. Toy Premiado
      06. Ecstasy
      07. Drive
      08. Miami
      09. Mona
      10. Especial
      11. Papelito
      12. I Am Nobody

      Slow Pulp

      Deleted Scenes

        RIYL: Alex G, Beabadoobee, Big Thief, Soccer Mommy.

        Slow Pulp follow up their triumphant debut album 'Moveys' with two 'Deleted Scenes'. "At It Again (Again)" reinterprets the grunged-up album track as a soft and gentle acoustic version. Emily Massey’s vocals float light as a feather over strumming acoustic strings and staccato guitar rhythms. "Iowa" is a hazy, fever-dream take on 'Moveys' standout "Idaho". Recalling the ethereal allure of alt 90s acts such as Mazzy Star or Enya, this adaptation finds the band experimenting with new sonic textures.


        TRACK LISTING

        A Side: At It Again (Again)
        B Side: Iowa

        Slow Pulp

        Moveys

          Debut LP follows ‘Big Day’ EP, which garnered praise from The FADER, NPR, Pigeons & Planes, Stereogum, and more . Past Touring: 2019 tours supporting Alex G, Post Animal, Remo Drive and Vundabar. European tour spring 2021. Slow Pulp’s remarkable full-length debut Moveys is a testament to hard-fought personal growth. In the process of making their new record, the Chicago-based indie rock band powered through health challenges, personal upheaval, and a pandemic, all while learning how to be better songwriters and friends.

          Full of blistering energy and emotional catharsis, this compelling 10-track collection highlights the band's resourcefulness and resilience to come together even when they were states away. As the band was in the midst of finishing the album, Massey's parents got in a severe car accident forcing her to pause recording and return home to Madison and take care of them. A week later, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. "I wasn't able to come back to Chicago for a while. How were we going to finish this apart from each other?" thought Massey. With Stoehr leading engineering, mixing, and production duties, the band managed to continue recording in an isolated, post-COVID world. "Thankfully most instrumentals were already written. Alex and Henry and I were all able to do that separately from a studio space that we rent in Chicago," says Mathews. As Massey's father Michael recovered from his injuries, the two worked on completing her vocal takes from his home studio, sending them to Stoehr for mixing.

          "Finishing this record was such a cool thing to know that we were able to do it," says Stoehr. Their made-up word “moveys” is multi-faceted for Slow Pulp. It is an invitation to dance. It is a wink at the cross-country nature of the album’s songwriting process, while the bandmates were literally on the move touring, sheltering in place, and going through major life changes. But, mostly, it’s an inside joke. Listening to these warm, dynamic and welcoming songs, it's easy to feel like you're a part of it too. 

          TRACK LISTING

          01. New Horse
          02. Trade It
          03. Idaho
          04. Track
          05. At It Again 
          06. Channel 2
          07. Whispers (In The Outfield)
          08. Falling Apart
          09. Montana
          10. Movey

          Amy O

          Shell

            Amy Oelsner's homemade pop songs sparkle with these eternal truths: that story-telling is part of being alive, and excavating the past is part of growth. Oelsner, who records as Amy O, is a lifer of the indie-pop underground for whom songwriting is a way of processing the passing of time. Her latest, Shell, brims with poetic granular details of everyday life; its her third studio album, and tenth including her many years of home recordings. Its title track is a beautiful, bouncing power-pop ode to grappling with the people you used to be, with twisty interlocking wordplay and bright hooks and harmonies. Written after reading through a bunch of old emails and letters, "Shell" bops along with subtle heaviness as Oelsner revisits the minutiae of past lives, collaging a decade's worth of snapshots and people and places: "In the song, I'm looking back fondly on a younger version of myself, celebrating the ways I've grown since then and also seeing how I can reincorporate some of those traits I've lost over the years into myself now." Following 2017's Elastic, Oelsner continues living up to that album's namesake: Shell similarly stretches with melodies upon melodies.

            But here there is greater use of space and pace and patience. Perfectly minimal riffs slowly build, ebb, erupt and recoil; guitars and keys layer and swell; there are moments of steady piano-pop, intricate drums and pristine criss-crossing vocal melodies. On Shell, Oelsner deals in the outer and inner boundaries of self. She grapples with mortality, physical transiency and vulnerability, the concept of home. There are homages to the formative relationships that shape our lives, imperfect as they may be. There are meditations on the mundane daily routines that support mental and physical health; in her description of it, Oelsner wanted to honor invisible processing, the inward emotional labor that often goes unseen, the type of internal work that is "not encouraged by society and can make you feel like you're disappearing."

            The first song written for Shell was "Planet Blue," a song about the difficulty of grieving, but also about how lightness and silliness can sometimes coexist with depression. "Crushed" is a perfect noisy pop miniature, a vignette of suburban teen life, sneaking out of windows to meet in parking lots. "Good Routines" recalls Takeoffs and Landings era Rilo Kiley, as Oelsner sings that such routines are "only what you make them," while "Zero" builds on a crunchy drum machine into one of the album's stickiest refrains. The subtle twang of "Rest Stop" captures a moment in time during an end-of-summer road trip. It was written after Oelsner got married, moved to a new home, and quit a job of five years: More recently, she's been teaching songwriting at a local community college and launching Girls Rock Bloomington, a music camp for girls, trans and non-binary youth. For Oelsner, music is a way of connecting with herself, her personal history and context. Going into the process of writing Shell, she says: "I was noticing a gap forming between my 'adult' self who was moving forward with her life and parts of my younger self that were stuck behind and hadn't yet caught up. The process of writing and recording Shell played a big role in helping to get some of those stuck parts of myself caught up and able to join me in the present so that I can move forward in a more fully embodied way." 

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Shell
            2. Synesthesia
            3. Good Routines
            4. Planet Blue
            5. Rest Stop  
            6. Zero
            7. Blueberries
            8. Crushed
            9. Loose Cassette
            10. Shrinking
            11. Later On

            Divino Nino

            Foam

              RIYL: Mild High club, Helado Negro, Juan Wauters.

              Divino Nino's new album Foam feels like catching up with a lifelong friend. There's undeniable songwriting chemistry between guitarist Camilo Medina and bassist Javier Forero, who met as kids in Bogota, Colombia and years later reconnected by sheer happenstance after their families had both moved to Miami. Both studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where they met guitarist Guillermo Rodriguez and eventually Drummer Pierce Codina. Now Chicagoans, their rhythmic, soulful - and at times bilingual - Latinx punk songs are a reflection of their continent-spanning bond and proof that Divino Nino couldn't have formed without unlikely but happy coincidences.

              The ten tracks on Foam feature wistfully romantic lyrics like the yearning plea on the title track ("I really wanna run away with you"), and sunny, honeyed arrangements. Songs like "Quiero" trade-off between English and Spanish with woozy guitars and harmonies anchoring the sweetness of the lyrics. The quartet's Latin American roots seep in throughout the LP's silky psychedelic flourishes but especially on single "Maria," which is sung entirely in Spanish. Inspired in equal parts by Argentine punk and the narratives of Mexican telenovelas, the personality-filled track is one of the most memorable on the record. 

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Foam
              2. Quiero
              3. Coca Cola
              4. Plastic Love
              5. Flamingo
              6. Maria
              7. Melty Caramelo
              8. B@d Luck
              9. Koda
              10. Cosmic Flower

              Barrie

              Happy To Be Here

                Inclusivity is at the heart of Barrie, the Brooklyn five-piece made of Barrie Lindsay, Dominic Apa, Spurge Carter, Sabine Holler and Noah Prebish. And on their debut LP Happy To Be Here, their multidimensional take on classic pop sounds awake and present, like a group that’s daydreaming but firmly there with one another. Lindsay largely wrote these songs late into the night, alone in her apartment, and her voice feels appropriately full of possibility throughout. Barrie, the band, is primarily her project; on the record, which she co-produced with Jake Aron (Snail Mail, Solange, Grizzly Bear), Lindsay plays guitar, piano, synth and bass. But still, Barrie is distinctly not a solo project, and Happy To Be Here is very much a full band record. Dominic’s drums fill the entire album, while Noah added synths and Spurge sang on nearly every track; the three also contributed production. And Sabine, though stuck in Germany with visa issues, remotely recorded vocals. Engineered and mixed by Aron at his Brooklyn studio in August 2018, the album is a softly explosive document of Barrie’s collective vision: “a well-crafted pop song that’s a little bit fucked up,” they explain. The album’s singles speak to its scope: the analog synths that burst from piano pointillism on “Clovers”, the lush electric guitar grooves on opener “Darjeeling”, the minimal arrangement and modular programmed drums of “Saturated”. The album’s energetic but unhurried movement is a testament to the wide-ranging backgrounds of Barrie’s membership: Spurge and Noah met at the Lot Radio through a shared love of house and techno, Dom plays and tours with the electronic rock band Is Tropical, Sabine is a performance artist and solo musician. 

                TRACK LISTING

                1 Darjeeling
                2 Dark Tropical
                3 Clovers
                4 Habits
                5 Saturated
                6 Chinatown
                7 Teenager
                8 Geology
                9 Casino Run
                10 Hutch 

                Major Murphy

                No. 1

                  Major Murphy is set to release their debut full-length No. 1. Those who caught feelings for “Mary,” the plaintive single released in November of 2017, may be pleased to find that the single is no outlier in this album. Brimming with jangly guitar, bright riffs, synth-sheened grooves, and commanding backing vocals, No. 1 reimagines 1970s radio rock with bristling sensitivity for our present era. Not quite pastiche, the lyrics of songwriter Jacob Bullard come from millennials’ unique cache of societal anxiety and ego-crises. On one hand, the technicolor and mechanized world of No. 1 is unmistakably ours: we are over-stimulated and pressured, confused and frustrated. On the other, Bullard heaves up worries seeded in adult selfhood and relationships, working for answers beyond life’s many brief and manic vanities.

                  The album’s musical sensibilities catch all this with A-side’s sudden velocity and mechanical repetitions, and B side’s encouraging grooves and contemplative soft-rock. The sound is rich and evocative, owing in large measure to bassist Jacki Warren’s faculty for harmonic structure. Drummer Brian Voortman’s keen responsiveness to melodic progressions and emotional shifts make for concert-like, energetic recordings--in fact, most of No. 1 was recorded live, capturing how naturally Major Murphy makes music together. When Major Murphy tours, they travel in a light-blue Dodge van and make a memorably caring and playful threesome. On stage, they’re a tight and assertive performance.

                  “This album is kind of an experiment,” says Bullard, “We wanted to see what would happen if we recorded in a studio instead of at home. We wanted to extend the idea of capturing our live dynamic a little further.” The result is an album that holds the kinetic charge of these three musicians. With precise control and live versatility, they never quite let the tension out. Even their dreamy soft-rock tracks have moments that feel utterly urgent, as if something dear were at stake. And isn’t there? 

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. No. 1
                  2. Who I Will Be
                  3. Mary
                  4. Radi-Yum
                  5. My C. C. Blues
                  6. Step Out
                  7. One Day
                  8. Jesus
                  9. When I Go Out
                  10. Lisa, Robbi, And Me

                  Amy O

                  Elastic

                    It’s either her second album or her ninth, depending on how you count, which means Amy O is both a new artist and a veteran. Growing up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, she taught herself to play guitar and write songs, eventually recording a series of lo-fi albums as she moved around the country for college and work. The endeavor was more about her own experience: the thrill and the discipline of making art. “Songwriting became a way for me to process things and make sense of my life. I got hooked on it emotionally.”

                    Today, Amy’s songwriting processes remains the same. ‘Elastic’ is an album about learning to live in your own inescapable skin—a challenge that defines not just Amy’s life, but everybody’s existence. Identifying that universal truth has shaped Amy into an exciting and insightful artist, one who is no longer making music for herself but is working to command whatever stage she steps onto. “I always had an aversion to being a girl onstage with a guitar singing quiet songs. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but I always knew I wanted to do something with a bit more volume, a bit more anger. I’m just now figuring out how to represent myself, and I think a lot of that has to do with feminism—learning how to be loud and take over a room, when those are things I’ve been socialized not to do. It’s been a very powerful realization that I can do that.” 

                    TRACK LISTING

                    1. Lavender Night
                    2. Soft Skin
                    3. Untouchable Heart
                    4. History Walking
                    5. Sunday Meal
                    6. Spacey Feeling
                    7. Patterns
                    8. Cherry Blossom
                    9. Elastic
                    10. Spill
                    11. David
                    12. Spinning


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