The Simple Charms of Lofi Legs’ “Dreamin” will Soothe Your Heart

Lofi Legs “Dreamin” cover (cropped)

On “Dreamin,” San Francisco’s Lofi Legs leave out all sonic distractions from the brilliance of its spare composition. Just Maria Donjacour and Paris Cox-Farr harmonizing with minimal guitar accompaniment. Its charm rests in part due to how it recalls stripping 90s indie pop to the bare essentials, or Low’s more intimate songs or even “After Hours” by The Velvet Underground. It is a prime example of how a few elements can articulate so much with creative arrangements and unvarnished emotional honesty and an elegant delivery. The group has an album called Lamb in the works and you can check out more from Lofi Legs and keep up with their happenings at the links below the song.

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Witness the Spare, Soulful, Doleful Americana Noir of Raygun Carver’s “Jesus He’s Right”

Raygun Carver “Jesus He’s Right” cover (cropped)

Raygun Carver is the moniker under which singer/songwriter Michael Soiseth has been releasing some of his music of late. The latest single is “Jesus He’s Right.” Not a religious song, the tune sounds like something that came out of being on the outs and staying up until dawn trying to come up with the right words to say to the object of one’s love and ditching at least a few hundred couplets before you realize you have to stop trying to overdo it and outsmart yourself. The evocation of tarnished glitter in the lonely, echo-y guitar and the doleful horn in the middle elevates this from the usual folk pop crowd into the realm of urban Americana noir minus the skullduggery.

Walt Disco’s “Strange to Know Nothing” is the Flamboyantly Glam/Goth Pop Song of the Year Thus Far

Walt Disco “Strange to Know Nothing” cover (cropped)

Listening to “Strange to Know Nothing” by Glasgow’s Walt Disco it’s impossible to anyone relatively familiar with glam/Goth/post-punk not to be struck how it’s reminiscent of the eccentric and energetic weirdness of Sparks or The Pop Group with a Heaven 17-esque pop baseline. The impassioned, warbling vocals and the minimalistic guitar riff and synth swells executed in a wonderfully melodramatic fashion makes me personally wonder if San Francisco’s The Sleepers got in a time machine and recorded a new record after listening to only post-punk and ska from the UK made between 1981 and 1986. If this is retro it’s at least borrowing after an original fashion. If that’s the band on the cover, and even if it’s not, rarely has a group of eccentrically dressed yet indisputably cool Goth misfits been so perfectly rendered as a representation of a song as rambunctious yet as haunting as “Strange to Know Nothing.” Listen for yourself below.

The PBS Educational Video/70s Action Thriller Vibe of Freedom Fry’s “The Sun is Gonna Shine On You” is a Winning Combination

Freedom Fry, photo courtesy the artist

Freedom Fry has been releasing an EP a month in 2019 and “The Sun is Gonna Shine On Your” comes from the group’s latest offering. The song is gritty yet breezy retro-futurist pop like a 1970s AM radio hit with modern sonic sensibilities. The video is more or less a lyric video but with the shifting, stylized yellow and black pinwheel in motion as the background imagery, it’s like you’re seeing an intermission reel for a lurid action thriller epic set in 1978 with the vibe of a safety video, Schoolhouse Rock and one of those psychedelic shorts in Sesame Street and Electric Company designed to make reading, doing math and learning language as exciting as they can be. Whatever the exact aim of pairing the song with these visuals, there’s no denying the impact. To further explore and keep up with the band’s new releases and other hijinx at any of the links below the video.

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The Bergamot’s “Ceasefire” Shines With an Incandescent Spirit

The Bergamot “Ceasefire” artwork

“Ceasfire” by Brooklyn, NY-based The Bergamot has a downtempo anthemic quality that reminded me a bit of Low in the past decade and a half. The fantastic vocal harmonies between husband and wife duo Nathaniel Hoff and Jillian Speece going from gently textural verses to ethereal yet forceful choruses is utterly entrancing. All the while the music starts in simple, interweaving layers of percussion, glistening guitar and breezy synths and resolves into triumphant tones. Fans of The Besnard Lakes will appreciate the bright and scintillating take on a psychedelic indie folk. Keep with The Bergamot at any of the following and listen to “Ceasefire” below.


emzae’s “Another Lesson Learnt” Charts a Heartfelt Path to Finding the Answers Within Minus Any Platitudes

Emzae @ HH 2018
emzae at Hockey Hustle circa 2018, photo by Lucy Beth Photography

Since beginning to share her self-produced music online in 2014, emzae, a songwriter based in Derby, UK, has navigated the vagaries of mental illness to making music that is striking, emotionally rich and imaginatively produced. She really has a knack for expressing the moods and modes of the mind as it struggles with conflicting or negatively repetitive messaging in a way that is accessible and relatable to anyone truly honest with themselves. Her latest song “Another Lesson Learnt” follows in the wake of the success of her tracks “Lucid Dreaming” and “Glory.” “Another Lesson Learnt” is a downtempo, melancholic, introspective piece but one that feels like a processing of the notion of yearning for validation through other people and the fantasies and unrealistic expectations involved when resolving that root of those desires are possible within our own minds.

Emzae’s tracks seem to be companions to her incredibly thoughtful and insightful blog posts discussing her successes, challenges and general thinking. Reading her words on various subjects is an great reminder to be patient with and kind to yourself as a method of keeping oneself on a fruitful path to a more fulfilling life long term. You can read the blog and learn more about the artist for yourself at and follow her work and music at any of the links below.


Jack Simchak’s “Tonight” Strikes a Hopeful Chord in the New Dark Age

Jack Simchak, photo courtesy the artist

Jack Simchak’s influences and inspirations are obvious on his song “Tonight.” With the lightly flangered guitar (The Cure), spare drum fills (Joy Division) and understated but foundational bass lines (The Smiths) Simchak makes no bones. But with his gently soulful, Steve Kilbey-esque vocals circa Remote Luxury and broad but subtle dynamic range, Simchak’s songwriting pushes what might otherwise be considered throwback into the realm of the modern. The artwork seemingly referencing Unknown Pleasures and Peter Saville’s artwork in general is likely no accident. But, again, with the colors and change of angles it suggests another era, one that is as bleak for many as the neo-liberal takeover was in the early 80s for people then now living under the regimes of what Bertram Gross termed “Friendly Fascism.” But today’s is arguably less friendly and the threat of nuclear annihilation once again no less distant. “Tonight” may have a dusky melody but suggests a spark of hope in the darkness even if that resistance can seem as simple as pursuing a potential love interest. Listen to the spare and glittering beauty of the song below.

Simchack is a multi-instrumentalist based in Brooklyn, NY and he performed the music and recorded it in his home studio. He plays in various bands around NYC and you can keep up with his endeavors at his Facebook page.

“Wave Remnants” and Jesse Woolston’s Ode to the Mystery and Romance of Space Exploration on the Nova EP

Jesse Woolston Nova EP cover

New Zealand-based multi-media artist and composer Jesse Woolston was inspired by his work scoring music for the Carl Sagan Institute and it’s search for habitable exoplanets in making his 2018 EP Nova. The track “Wave Remnants” was surely inspired by the human projection of tranquility and otherworldly beauty on outer space and the quest for signs of life in our own solar system and beyond. But the elegant and mysterious quality of the song is also reminiscent of former Siouxsie & The Banshees bassist Steve Severin’s soundtrack for Nigel Wingrove’s controversial 1989 short film Visions of Ecstasy. The hypnotic unfurling of tone flowing into infinity as ethereal drones on “Wave Remnants” is particularly entrancing. Listen below and if you’re so inclined give the full EP a listen here. There you can also delve into Woolston’s larger catalog.

The Therapeutic Power of Music in Kempt’s “Commune”

Kempt, photo courtesy the artist

Kempt is MC Wolfe and former Asobi Seksu guitarist James Hanna. The duo started Kempt in the winter of 2018 in Brooklyn and brought to the band a great deal of polished musicality as evidenced by the single “Commune.” What is striking about the track for anyone more than familiar with dream pop and electronic post-punk is that Kempt draws upon nostalgia for 80s synth pop without sounding like a later era chillwave band too late to that movement’s sell by date. It has an upbeat, even effervescent quality that is enhanced greatly from strong vocals from both Wolfe and Hanna. That the lyrics are about to evoke a sense of empathy and affection for a suffering loved one without maudlin sentimentality is an achievement in itself. But listen for yourself below and take in the entire five-song EP.

Travel the Haunted Desert Interstates with Afternoon Author’s “Gila Bend”

Afternoon Author, photo courtesy the artist

Afternoon Author is a band from Phoenix, Arizona that is currently in a cycle of releasing a song every six weeks until the release of its album later in 2019. “Gila Bend” is the group’s third single and what struck me about the song was how it captured a deep sense of introspection by employing multiple layers of sounds, a variety of textures and tones that not every band would think to place in a chill track. In some ways its reminiscent of 90s indie pop weirdos like Olivia Tremor Control, at times of a non-rock Shriekback for the sheer otherworldly quality in the realm of pop. The use of organic samples and ending on a passage of what sounds like what represents the track breaking down or the tape warping down into slow motion. The song’s hypnotic intro and whispery vocals really bring you into this dream journey of a song. Get lost in the song below.

Keep up with Afternoon Author and its progress toward album completion at any of the following links:
Afternoon Author YouTube