Our roundup kicks off with ko aka koala’s latest single, “why is everyone so scared of me.” An ominous synth-pop track, this is one for fans of Ashnikko and Jazmin Bean. The artist mentions that this piece was written from the perspective of a zombie- “someone who is doomed to be alone, who can’t help but hurt the people around them.” The scariest thing about this track is how catchy the hook is!
Asian-American indie rock band Rooted, a quintet of middle school students, dazzles on “Waiting.” The prodigious musicianship behind this release is evident and awe-inspiring. “Waiting” marries elements of jazz, retro pop, and indie rock, and vocally echoes a young WILLOW. Rooted is polished beyond their years and poised for superstardom, rivaling musicians twice their respective ages.
Yoshi Flower tributes the late Lil Peep in this emotive cover. Emphasizing vulnerable, melodic vocals and brighter instrumentation than the original, Yoshi Flower breathes new life into the already poignant composition. “Star Shopping” is part of a cover song compilation, ODE, honoring artists tragically lost to addiction. All proceeds benefit organizations aiding individuals struggling with addiction and mental health, so be sure to keep an eye out when it drops July 27.
Indie-pop duo veronicavon impresses with their latest single, “Everything I Never Wanted.” Late 80s pop, lo-fi, and experimental electronic nod to artists like Clairo, Oklou, and Blood Orange. Satiny vocals float effortlessly over dreamy, textured instrumentation and convey feelings of being lost in a tropical jungle. A marked favorite this week.
A sweeping, summer pop single, “Why Did I Lose You” builds interest in all the right places with glittering synths, weighted, 80s-esque drums, and a noteworthy hook reminiscent of the stylings of Charli XCX.
Uncomfortably raw and unapologetically real, Nina Nesbitt makes no sacrifice for catchiness in “Pressure Makes Diamonds,” an indie-pop track about the societal pressures of mid-20s womanhood as an artist:
“Everybody asks me when I’ll settle down and marry
Get a house out in the country
Have a baby, well, I’m sorry
I’m just tryna make it through the bullshit flying at me
Turn it into something catchy
And then make it into money”
Nesbitt captures the annoyance of having patriarchal expectations thrust upon oneself, especially as someone who doesn’t follow a typical career path. I related a little too much to the sentiments she so succinctly conveyed, and for that, this is my track of the week.
Multidisciplinary artist MIXIE displays electro-pop prowess on “sideways.” Airy, malleable vocals weave seamlessly through the danceable production and guitar. “sideways” is about when all of the familiar places and emotions play out but yet something is off,” notes MIXIE.
Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Ry August laments the friend zone and reflects on past mistakes in this clever indie-pop number. Tasteful autotune, a memorable bass line, and varied sound design keep things interesting and replayable.
Elements of Y2K pop, electronic, and R&B forge to create this summery, “missing you” track. Between bubbly, evolving production and sparkling pop vocals, katie MAC invites us into her process of overcoming heartache, looking for Band-Aids, and emerging anew.
Wrapping us up this week, I Used to Be Sam demands our attention with their cinematic, folk-alt pop composition, “Grateful”. I hear bits of Kimbra, ANOHNI, Bon Iver, and BANKS throughout the stirring vocals and instrumentation. I Used to Be Sam exemplifies some of the most impressive genre-fusing techniques I’ve heard, and I am hungry to hear more from this awe-inspiring artist.