Lo Artiz Leans Into Her Heartache on the Neo Soul Single “get by”

Lo Artiz, photo courtesy the artist

Lo Artiz has taken a major bout of heartache and set it to a chill and melancholic beat with “get by.” It’s neo-soul flavor takes just a touch of the sting out of mistreatment and feeds into a spirit of wounded resilience that flows through the song. But lines like “Lately all I do is cry, but imma still get by/So clean, still whenever I walk by/You know imma get by” are so poignant it captures such a specific feeling when you feel like you didn’t do anything wrong but got treated like you don’t rate by some trifling fool who you thought might have been different. So you just lean into that feeling, that ache and relive some of those memories and ride that pain until you’re through it and maybe, just maybe, not have to revisit it with the clown of the moment and be stronger for it going into the future and preserve some of your dignity in the process. Listen to “get by” on Spotify and follow Lo Artiz at the links below.

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LINEBUG Helps Us to Find a Manageable Way of Processing a Rapidly Changing and Complex World in the Charming Stop Motion Video for Chamber Pop Single “Sideways”

LINEBUG, photo courtesy the artists

“Sideways” by Danish pop duo LINEBUG is a song about drifting without direction and searching for identity in an increasingly complex world. But the song and its delightful stop motion music video takes on this subject at a creative and playfully personal manner. We see singer Line Bøgh surrounded by images seemingly assembled by a hodge podge of objects at hand, like the kinds of information, events and cultural developments that seem to be coming at us at a fast rate constantly these days, and many of these objects form the lyrics of the song as if that is one way of making sense of it all and finding a path forward by finding a way for it to make sense in a way that’s relatable and useful in your own life. The video is reminiscent of the kinds of animation one might have seen in children’s shows in the 70s and 80s and perhaps now and in deconstructing the complexity to those fundamentals the changes with which we must come to terms seems manageable. The song driven by strings and piano in a spare, chamber pop style itself makes a new way of seeing things seem palatable and desirable. Watch the video for “Sideways” on YouTube and follow LINEBUG at the links below. LINEBUG’s new album, a meditation on and exploration of similar themes as “Sideways,” Fast Changing Landscapes, released on April 21, 2023.

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Aleesha Dibbs Casts Off Pernicious Fools With Dreamlike Elegance on “Conjured You Up”

Aleesha Dibbs, photo courtesy the artist

In setting “Conjured You Up” to a soft electronic beat and layers of hazy synth with a melody in tone like something written on a Mellotron, Aleesha Dibbs gives the song a dreamlike cast. It’s like something crafted from library music but with that psychedelic pop style its lyrics about deep self-disappointment and feeling foolish at the mistreatment of an abusive person time and again. So in the lyrics Dibbs puts some distance between her own failings as a person by describing the abuser as a “fake idea” and “I conjured you up.” This framing somehow makes it easier to see these fools as manifestations of one’s own vulnerabilities rather than something or someone to which to give too much power and influence on one’s life. The song is an acknowledgment of how our very natures can attract certain energies without taking that on as an inherent flaw, but something to expect and cast off. Musically it’s reminiscent of a downtempo Black Moth Super Rainbow song and though short the song’s gently radiant melodies and textures linger with you. Listen to “Conjured You Up” on Spotify.

Nikki Oniyome Sifts Through the Fog of Social Projections on New Age Ambient Track “Underestimated”

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The current of roiling ethereal tone that runs through Nikki Oniyome’s “Underestimated” hits some beautifully disorienting notes throughout the course of the song. It cycles and resonates as the vocalist speaks words about how many people interpret who you are and project their hidden and not so secret desires for you and your identity as it is reflected in their own lives and insist that such images are your truth. And the saturated and distorted synths that wash about in slow waves are like the frequency of a lucid dream that make it more clear what your own truth might be separate from the expectation of others. Musically it’s reminiscent of Alice Coltrane’s 1980s New Age era or like early Laurel Halo with a spiritual energy that lingers with you as an encouragement to embrace one’s own authentic self. Listen to “Underestimated” on Spotify and follow Nikki Oniyome at the links provided.

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Boambee’s Synthpop Single “Cactus” is a Heartfelt and Affectionate Portrait of a Complex Parental Bond

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“Cactus” begins like a poem that Boambee has set to a beat with dreamlike background melodies casting a tone of regret. And the words hit heavy given the songwriter crafted the song in the wake of the passing of her father because they’re like a letter to someone with whom you had unresolved conflicts that had you the time to sit down and talk maybe discuss the hurts when they’re intertwined with lingering feelings of love the way every kid feels toward their parents especially when that love was real and despite conflicted feelings remains long after you lose that parent. Boambee imbues the song with that psychological complexity and nuance with a warmth and power in the expertly orchestrated waves and sweep of the song’s gorgeously ethereal synths and finely arranged beats. The image of the title is perfect as a symbol for a relationship that sticks in your mind with the pain and beauty in sometimes equal measure but leaning toward the positive as something that can be appreciated and valued on its own merits. Listen to “Cactus” on Spotify and connect with Boambee, the Kiwi/Aussie producer now based in Nashville, at the links below.

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Josephine Odhil’s Hazily Psychedelic Video for “Rye” Gently Drifts Into Your Mind and Guides it to Contemplative and Restful Spaces

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Josephine Odhil, formerly of psychedelic rock band The Mysterons, brings a gentle drift into the melodies and billowing structure of “Rye.” The lyric video by Michael Cullen with is flowing and hazy images in beautifully washed out colors matches the song’s fuzzy edges and daydreamy energy. Odhil’s melodious vocals seem to lean back into a floating reverie as elegant guitar work traces the rhythm, swells of synth bloom and cascade in slow pulses for an effect that’s soothingly hypnotic befitting the song’s impressionistic lyrics. The video and the music together are like a painting in motion and its subtle layers of texture and atmosphere sinks deep into your mind easing it into a more restful and contemplative space. Watch the video for “Rye” on YouTube and follow Odhil at the links below.

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Mary Lou Newmark’s Soundcape Tone Poem “Horses of Grace” is a Poetic Expression of Horsekind

Mary Lou Newmark dispenses with rules of how a song should begin and conventional structure as “Horses of Grace” begins with a string of couplets of what horses are doing or their status and how that is an example of a form of grace. Then sweeping, moody strings over textured samples and distorted synths, sounds of horses neighing, percussion that sound like something out of a 1980s Art of Noise song. What are we hearing? If you don’t think about it too much this composition offers a dreamlike experience of the essence of a horse as perhaps created a far future AI based on ancient literature, art forms and the fossil record and casting that expression of horsekind in all its glory in this sonic form that could be a style of sound art that would readily be recognized as music crafted on principles very different from notions of music we now possess. Listen to “Horses of Grace” on Spotify where you can listen to the rest of Newmark’s December 2022 album A Stitch in Time, comprised of pieces that Newmark calls “Music for the quantum age” in that the music moves across time sometimes all at once and utilizing a broad palette of sounds including live violin. It sounds like little else out there unless you’re listening to an old Laurie Anderson record.

Coely Celebrates all the Manifestations of Her Blackness on “Fruit of Bantu”

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Coely boldly yet with a casual confidence asserts the inherent value and power of her blackness on “Fruit of Bantu.” When James Brown sang “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” in 1968 it was an assertion of a truth in resistance to oppression. Coely here with rich background drones and whirling tones suggestive of dreams or a higher state of consciousness as part of the beat makes a similar statement of dignity because we’re still in a time when blackness is denigrated and devalued in the Western world despite the intellectual and cultural achievements of people of color. And beyond that does one need such recognized metrics to have value as a human being? When N.K. Jemisin published her book How Long ’til Black Future Month?: Stories in 2018 it posed a sharply observed question and offered perspectives on race but Coely simply takes the stance of being in that future and asserting that reality in her rapping and chiding those who would question the status of anyone like her as a person to be respected. Her rapping in the beginning of the song tags off to Shaka Shams who brings in strong words of mutual support and solidarity against racism and sexism. It’s a striking song with a sense of mystery and a deep mood. Listen to “Fruit of Bantu” on YouTube and follow Belgian rapper Coely at the links below.

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Elektrokohle’s Cold Punk Single “Vollmond” and its Expressionist Style Video Disorients as it Draws You In

Elektrokohle, photo courtesy the artists

Elektrokohle looks like commandeered a pirate television station in the video for “Vollmond” (in English, “Full Moon”) – all black and white, flickering images like reels projected onto a background. The motorik beats, metallic utility percussion and what could be processed guitar or synth, vocals sounding like they’re coming from a tunnel, a bit of German Expressionist aesthetic and a sense of traveling back and forth in time before crackling white noise spirals into the outro. It truly sounds like a music out of time with obvious sonic references to krautrock and early German industrial and post-punk but with a sound palette of its own that prevents discreet discernment of instrumentation so that the track has to be taken on as a whole that disorients as it draws you in. It’s a sound the band calls “Cold Punk” which encapsulates the diverse roots and influences nicely. Watch the video for “Vollmond” on YouTube and follow Berlin’s Elektrokohle at the links below.

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Cheree’s “Churn Down” is a Rejection of and Resistance to Manufactured Consent

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The chirp of birds and “I wish I could escape from this gilded cage” at the beginning of “Churn Down” by Oakland-based Cheree is the calm before the sharp bursts of sound and pounding, metallic rhythms and desperate and righteous vocals. Also processed white noise like leaking from a steam tunnel. Altogether it’s the kind of sustained outburst of catharsis that is what’s been appealing about artists like HIDE, Moon Pussy and HIRS: Uncompromising and willing to follow a path of using sound to express a certain break with mainstream normalcy and questionable social values that are entirely too common and accepted. This song and the rest of the new Cheree album Factory (which released on March 24, 2023 on digital, cassette and vinyl via Cherub Dream Records) is a rejection of and resistance to manufactured consent. Industrial noise rock for discerning ears. Listen to “Churn Down” on Spotify and follow Cheree at the links below.

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