MALIA, Julia Blair, TWÏNS, Ben Zaidi, Jewels Gold, Olive Vox, Guy Blue are the artists in these press releases for March.
MALIA – “Only One”: A languid melody with MALIA’s silky sultry vocals slowing floating over a mellow R&B track. The Los Angeles-based artist has shared the music video for her first single from her upcoming EP, “What’s After ‘I Love You?’” due out March 4th via Black Sea Music. The new song sees MALIA grappling with the aftermath of unrequited love, the moments when you step back and question the relationship. On the song, MALIA looks inwards, her soulful, velvety vocals uplifting the lyrics as she muses: “guess I love way too hard/did I make this up/am I the one?/the only one in love?” A conceptual work surrounding heartbreak, the songs on “What’s After ‘I Love You?’” chronicle the life-shattering stages after a breakup. Within it, MALIA navigates realizing love is lost, questions all she once knew to be true, and finds healing in channeling her experiences into creativity. MALIA embraces vulnerability on the record, invites us to open ourselves up to love, and shows us that beauty can come from pain. She had this to say about the forthcoming album: ”Heartbreak is one of those life situations that can trigger you to call into question everything about yourself, who you are, how you show up in this world? You begin to examine each dark corner that may have been swept over in the past, all the way to the root of the limiting beliefs that may have been planted decades ago or more. For me, this pain was unlike anything I’ve ever felt and I found myself at rock bottom. My first reaction was to clamor to get the feelings back that I was clinging so hard to out of fear, but sitting with that pain instead of pushing it away or attempting to change the situation was the best thing I could have done. Once I was able to regain some sense of composure, making music was my only outlet. My heart, mind, body, and spirit were calling out for me to create, perhaps as a sense of closure, I felt I was lacking. This is the most vulnerable I’ve ever been in my writing and it makes me feel so exposed to share but also empowered because the growth I experienced through this intense pain created the best version of me yet. Sharing these songs with the world forces me to continue to remain open and live from a place of love over fear. I hope my story reminds people that moments of darkness however painful, actually hold our hand and help us elevate.”
Julia Blair – “Waste Away“: A sensible emotive string quarter starts the song that lets Julia Blair’s expansive vocals soar with strength. This is probably the least upbeat song of her new album “Better Out Than In,” as “Relax,” for example, is a determined and relentless blend of guitar, keys, and Blair’s voice that has been compared to St. Vincent, Erika Wennerstrom, Angel Olsen, Sheryl Crowe, and Alanis Morissette. Meanwhile, her musical range has been described going from the sublime and elegant to downright gritty rock and roll.” On the concept behind the album, Blair shares: “’Better Out Than In’ was produced over the course of three years at our in-house studios at the Crutch Of Memory compound in Appleton, Wisconsin – in the heart of the “Fox River Valley.” Crutch of Memory was established several years ago, mostly as a private studio for the creative output of members of Dusk and Tenement. Since then, it’s taken on its own identity as a record label and destination recording studio. This album is the second release on our flagship series. Our goal is to establish a catalog of artists and material that we’re heavily involved and invested in creatively; through songwriting, arranging, performing, and recording. We bring our favorite artists to our neck of the woods and let them swim in our pond, so to speak. Our hope is to bring out what we love most in these artists, and in the process, insert what makes us unique as musicians, songwriters, and producers as well. What we hold important is that we make great records and capture our own individual acoustic: what one could call The Fox River Valley Sound.”
TWÏNS – “Transcend”: Jazz keys and soulful atmosphere, a bit nostalgic, a bit mysterious, but working as a soundtrack for a foreign movie. This is a song from the forthcoming album, “The Human Jazz” – due April 28 via Earth Libraries – by TWÏNS, the musical project of Berlin-based artist Miro Denck. Speaking on the track, Miro wrote: “In my perception, ‘Transcend’ was born as a merger of kind of a Soul Jazz vibe and my love for that short song format and instrumentation you often find in Library Music. My friend Sid from The Orielles plays drums on this one, and I think that really gave it that certain rhythmic energy it needed which I wouldn’t have been capable of putting down myself. Speaking on the video for the song, Miro wrote: “The video for ‘Transcend’ was made in collaboration with Berlin-based filmmaking duo OJOBOCA, based on a material shot in connection with their latest film, the experimental triptych ‘Instant Life’ which will premiere at Berlin International Film Festival this February. For me, it couldn’t capture the matter of transcendence any more aesthetically pleasing than this and it was a privilege for me to bring their art and my music together for one and a half minutes.” “I work with myself as my own partner, my twin,” the Berlin-based artist says. “But I also think of us all as being cosmic twins, of being the same of any other human, of the same universal matter.” That insistence on interconnectivity powers Denck’s latest, “The Human Jazz,” an intimate record that binds joy and pain closely together.
Ben Zaidi – “Scripture In The Sand”: An intimate lo-fi guitar ballad with emotive strings, vulnerable vocals, and dense reflections. This is a single from poet and artist Ben Zaidi’s upcoming debut album, “Acre of Salt” out June 3. The heartbreaking intimate track tells a whispered story laced with hazy memories of youth balanced by the harsh reality of mortality. Ben explains, “Every Spring when I was in college, my four friends and I would drive down the coast from Boston to Florida. We snuck into Manhattan parties, we ate mushrooms on the beach, we swam naked under the stars. These voyages were the picture of youth, the height of irreverence. And then, only a few years later, I found myself returning to Florida for very different reasons. First, for the death of my grandfather, whose house I had to clear out desperately as the bank foreclosed on it. Then, for my close friend’s cancer treatment. Driving up and down the same I-95, it was surreal that this same place could be so bright with invincible youth, and now so darkened by looming mortality. The wind shifts in an instant.” Much of the record was influenced by a long drive down I-95 from Brooklyn to Florida to visit a friend who had been diagnosed with Stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and going through chemo. “And that obviously was the first smack in the face of, ‘Oh, we’re not invincible anymore’ It’s not like, ‘Oh our whole life is ahead of us stretching out in front of us,’ but instead there is certain frailty that this is all precariously balanced on. And I think the album’s grappling with that.”
Jewels Gold -“The Teller“: Another anthem on keys by this emerging talent. Her very flexible vocals climb to the most raucous heights and drive the song to an intense roller coaster. This is the third single off her debut singles collection, due March 18. The collection concludes with 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 new single, Jewels says: “The lyrics of ‘The Teller’ share the story of an encounter I had a few summers ago with two friends. They had just gone to a psychic in Asbury Park, NJ, and wanted me to experience it so I could hear all about my future. It got me thinking a lot about fate, free will, and manifestation. So instead of going to the psychic, I wrote The Teller. It’s a reminder that we create our own destiny. We can design our lifestyles, we can choose who we surround ourselves with, and we can choose who we want to be.” 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.”
Olive Vox – “Bury Me Low:” A grungy, rocking song in full force with a catchy melody way above a thick fuzz of guitars and plenty of distortion. Garage rock at its best. This is a song from psychedelic, grunge rockers Olive Vox’s self-titled debut EP. The duo consists of singer-songwriter, social media creator/influencer Parker James and his brother guitarist-songwriter Caden Shea, and they have both created a sound well beyond their years with the influence of Nirvana, Screaming Trees, Alice In Chains as well as the psychedelic influence of veterans Pink Floyd. The five-song set includes previously released singles “Bury Me Low,” “Sunflower,” and “Middle Name” as well as two new tracks “This Is My Home” and “Denial”. The duo has also released the stand-alone single “Finger,” a Ty Segall cover released in October prior to their opening for Fuzz at Levitation Festival in Austin. Originally from Orange County, CA, Parker & Caden moved to Texas as pre-adolescent kids searching to fit into a new landlocked environment. During the COVID-induced lockdown, Parker and Caden developed their sound influenced by psychedelic indie rock, garage rock, 90s grunge, and more. Their Gen Z perspective makes the music they play resonate with an audience searching for a new sound to embrace.
Guy Blue – “No Vision”: A saturated sound, a sort of collage of fragmented sonic ideas quite puzzling at first, with heavily distorted vocals. Guy Blue (the music project of Brooklyn-based songwriter and producer Jack Ladd) has also shared Bluepoint, a music video/game in collaboration with Shea Stadium that features his debut single, “No Vision,” while his debut EP, “Arms Wide,” is due June 3. Collaborating with Shea Stadium, Ladd created Bluepoint, a digital recreation of closed DIY spaces in Brooklyn. The project combines two passions—music and video games—and serves as a love letter to lost spaces and times. The game offers players the chance to revisit Shea Stadium and mingle with regulars and staff, with dialogue contributed by their real-life counterparts. The pixelated, 16bit graphics crystallize the experience into one that is hyper simplified, yet unmistakably Shea. Here the edges of the memory are too sharp; the muddy details can’t possibly be contained in the plane of pixels. It leaves the player missing the real thing even more. In his first single “No Vision,” Ladd creates a character tormented by self-destructive urges, somewhere between Stephen Malkmus and Tony Soprano. This tension is reflected in the sonic texture, an incongruous patchwork of guitars, drums, and samples, haphazardly stitched together and fraying. Ghostly International’s Chester Raj Anand (aka Lord Raja) lends production, making this beat-driven track feel like the most fun panic attack you’ll ever have. Speaking on the track, Ladd wrote: “I wrote ‘No Vision’ when I was knowingly making a lot of bad decisions in my life. I was trapped in a self-destructive loop, and that spiraling momentum definitely found its way into the track. I think it’s a story a lot of people will relate to. We’re all compelled by destructive urges that have real consequences for those around us. There’s a reference to Tony and Carmela Soprano in the track. In the Sopranos, we see the horrifying consequences of Tony’s impulses, and yet he’s still an incredibly compelling and relatable character. I think it’s because seeing those darkest desires played out allows us to reflect on our own urges and actions. I hope the track accomplishes something similar.”