Review: Conan Gray’s “Superache”

Conan Gray’s new album “Superache” is out now!

Conan Gray’s long awaited sophomore studio album Superache is finally here, and it’s a massive leap in the right direction. The 23-year-old singer who started out on YouTube has shown an incredible bit of growth with this project- maturing as a songwriter and showing a vast improvement in his vocal ability as well. While I’ve always had respect for Gray and his pen, the production on previous projects sometimes left me wanting more and this album finally feels like his lyrics are met with their harmonious equals. Now let’s break it down!

Superache is a tale of love and heartbreak- telling stories of unrequited love, childhood trauma, and the impact they can have on one’s life. It’s heartbreaking and dramatic as hell, leaving you in its wake as Conan opens up about the experiences that have nearly broken him.

On opening track “Movies” he fantasizes about the kinds of love seen on screen, wishing him and his partner could have an unbreakable bond instead of feeling merely what they lack. No relationship is ever perfect, and yet we all search for that idealized love we grow up watching in films. Perhaps it’s a bit unrealistic but it teaches you what you truly deserve- which Conan recognizes when comparing his relationship to the ones he’s grown up watching. “In my head, we never grow apart, in my head, you never break my heart, but we know that’s not what we’re doing, ’cause baby, this ain’t like the movies,” he sings on the chorus and sets the tone for what’s to come with the rest of the album.

Movies” by Conan Gray

Another album standout is the newest single “Disaster” which is one of the very few up-tempo tracks on this project. The track represents the panic that ensues when contemplating over what will happen if you confess your feelings for someone. Conan captures the spiraling panic perfectly with collaborator Julia Michaels as well, imagining the worst-case scenario if he confesses his love for his crush. “There’s so many factors, like what if you freak out, and then we’re losin’ it all at the critical chapter, where I say ‘I love you’ and you don’t say it after? This could be a disaster,” he sings on the chorus of the all too relatable track. It’s a moment we’ve all found ourselves in at one point or another and despite the frustration this describes, the production is bouncy and pure pop perfection.

“Disaster” by Conan Gray

“Family Line” is by far, the album’s most personal and heartbreaking track- detailing Gray’s childhood and relationship between his parents. Conan describes the feeling of growing up within this trauma and how it has molded him into who he is today, recognizing the parts of his parents that he sees within himself and how he has tried to unlearn the toxic patterns. “All of my past, I tried to erase it, but now I see, would I even change it? Might share a face and share a last name but we are not the same,” the bridge brings to light a sense of catharsis within Conan. It’s poignant and the production is absolute perfection- I dare anyone to listen to it without getting full body chills.

“Family Line” by Conan Gray

It would be impossible to review this album and not talk about “Astronomy” which came out over a year ago and still feels just as fresh as the first listen. To put it simply, it’s one of those songs that haunts you to your core and leaves you coming back for more pain every single time. The production builds so beautifully by the time it reaches the bridge as Conan sings about the fear of losing his friendship with his best friend and not having this bond someday. “You can’t force the stars to align when they’ve already died,” he recognizes how it would be perfect if all of the conditions would be ideal to revive their relationship but it’s not something they have any control over when there’s nothing keeping them together.

“Astronomy” by Conan Gray

Much of the beauty and pain of Superache relies on the fact that nothing lasts forever- whether it’s the love between 2 people, the ache from a relationship ending, or the trauma taught to us at a young age. There’s a poignant beauty to every feeling and experience, an opportunity to learn and grow from it all. And while life can hurt you and bring you to your lowest point, it’s that ache that reminds you you’re alive.

Superache is out now on all streaming platforms!

Review: Kendrick Lamar’s “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers”

Kendrick Lamar’s “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” is out now!

Kendrick Lamar has finally released his long-awaited new album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers– his follow up to 2017’s Pulitzer Prize winning Damn. Mr. Morale is an excruciatingly personal album, perhaps Lamar’s most personal one to date. While it’s not quite as experimental as To Pimp a Butterfly and doesn’t even attempt to feature anything remotely radio friendly, this album is an absolute knockout. In the five years since his last album, Kendrick makes it clear that he’s been through a lot.

Mr. Morale takes us through Kendrick’s journey towards healing- tackling a range of topics from personal insecurities, lifelong trauma, struggles with fame, cancel culture, and transphobia. It’s not always easy to listen to- we’re talking some heavy topics here, but Lamar’s delivery and each track’s unique production make it a pleasure to return to over and over.

In a way, a big theme of this album is the fact that he “can’t please everybody,” which Lamar repeats on album track “Crown”. He criticizes the worship of celebrity and yet knows that he too is a prominent figure and recognizes the pressure that his status has placed on him. Instead of crumbling underneath the pressure, he chooses to push through and offers up more of himself along the way.

“Rich Spirit” is an automatic album standout- instantly catchy and has a great replay value. On the track, he talks about his personal struggle with balancing spirituality and the material gain that his status has afforded him as well as morality and the idolization of celebrity. “Can’t fuck with you no more, I’m fastin,'” he says on the chorus, referring to the distractions and technology that he has tried to shift his mind away from in the five years since we’d seen him. He’s trying to focus on what’s important- going without a phone and social media despite the fact that he has plenty of money to provide himself with it. The production is sleek, and his flow is smooth over the rich production.

On “N95”, Kendrick uses his talent as a wordsmith to criticize the government’s inconsistencies of handling the pandemic while also encouraging us to all strip away the material distractions that shift our focus away from what matters. “Take off the Chanel, take off the Dolce, take off the Birkin bag, take all that designer bullshit off, and what do you have,” Lamar questions the significance that we as a society have misplaced in these material goods on the first verse. Between his style and the incredible switch ups in his delivery throughout the song- “N95” is certainly the most high-octane track on the album.

“Father Time” is a powerful track that finds Kendrick unpacking a lot of his trauma from his childhood that have had a detrimental impact on his relationships throughout his life. Here he targets the toxic masculinity that has been passed down from generation to generation through his family, specifically from his own father who instilled a lot of these outdated beliefs in him. “And to my partners that figured it out without a father, I salute you, may your blessings be neutral to your toddlers, it’s crucial, they can’t stop us if we see the mistakes, ’til then, let’s give the women a break, grown men with daddy issues,” he gives his male listeners a stern message- asking us all to try to break the endless wheel of toxic masculinity and daddy issues that have continued to plague the women in our lives. It’s a topic not often discussed by most men- let alone in Hip Hop and I sincerely hope that the importance of this message is not lost on his listeners.

There’s a significance and a purpose to every word Kendrick writes- bleeding himself out and leaving himself raw with every track as he makes it clear that he may not be everything that we all believed him to be. The album’s artwork and accompanying music video feature a plethora of religious imagery, even so far as the album cover with his crown of thorns- placed upon Jesus before his crucifixion. He’s reminding us all that he is just a man, with his child in his arms and fiancée Whitney Alford holding their newborn in the background. It’s poignant and vulnerable- a perfect juxtaposition for the album to come.

If the album is a journey towards healing, taking us through multiple stages- “Mother I Sober” is the moment of realization- the moment he wakes up and takes in the fact that he’s no longer the sole focus of his life. He tells us of the generational trauma that has plagued his family, starting with his mother and working his way down towards his own before his utter refusal to let it impact his own children. His delivery is at first guarded, a mere mumble and yet as he continues to open up, his delivery becomes clearer as he accepts the fact that his past was never in his control. “You did it, I’m proud of you. You broke a generational curse. Say ‘thank you, dad’,” Whitney’s voice gives him the acknowledgment that he so wishes for in the end- freeing him of this guilt that has consumed him for so long.

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers isn’t an easy listen- it leaves you in its wake contemplating everything you’ve just taken in. In fact, after listening to it in full about 7 or 8 times now, I still don’t feel qualified enough to truly speak on it. It’s gorgeous, it’s uncomfortable and it’s the kind of music that benefits you with each subsequent listen.

Thank you, Kendrick.

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is out now on all streaming platforms!

Fresh Brewed Playlist #12

Carol Ades’ new single “26” is out now!

Carol Ades’ long awaited new single “26” is a beautifully crafted anthem for anyone feeling lost in life. From the moment I heard the first snippets on her TikTok, I knew this song was somehow made exactly for me. The ways in which Ades describes that in-between state of your mid-twenties where the transition from childhood to adulthood truly hits is universally relatable. “Oh, I’m freaking out, trying not to turn this car right around, cos there ain’t a feeling I’m not tryna fix, I’m not a grown-up but I’m not a kid, it hurts every time I’m reminded, I’m not dying, I’m just 26,” she sings on the chorus. The production choices are simply gorgeous as the track continues to build into the second chorus’ crescendo, but it’s the simplicity of the outro that make it unforgettable. Carol Ades has already had an accomplished career as a songwriter but it’s about time she gets the credit she deserves- she’s an absolute star.

“26” by Carol Ades

“Ruby Sparks” is another standout release by a rising artist named Monét Ngo who proves himself to be a force to be reckoned with on this track (which is only the second song he’s ever released btw). According to his Instagram, the song came to him in a dream- and the mysteriously seductive production captures that dream like haze quite perfectly. While listening, I was reminded so beautifully of little hints of Joji, Ryan Beatty and even the one and only Frank Ocean- and yet Ngo is very much his own artist. The song was already pretty much perfect and then the final minute began- with the switch up in production slowing down the beat and adding a reverb to his vocals that truly skyrocketed it to perfection. It’s been a long time since I’ve found a brand-new artist that made me desperate for whatever is next- and Monét Ngo should know I’ll be waiting desperately.

“Ruby Sparks”- Directed by Natasha Abdul

Oceanic’s new single “Walt” is yet another incredible release from the Indie pop band who have gained quite a lot of success over the last few years. Like all of their songs, “Walt” is beautifully written and gives the listeners the opportunity to think on what it means to be in love. Named after Walt Disney, the song examines the ideas we have of love based upon the shows and movies we grow up watching and how they mess up our own view of the love we experience in our lives. “My love right now is missing some perfection, if the silver screens are true,” they sing on the pre-chorus, questioning their own experiences based upon the expectations fed to us. It’s not something that is always made obvious to us, but there are things that we are made to feel that we are required to say and do, which can make romance feel a bit more calculated than it really should be. It’s what Oceanic always do best, they get you bopping first and before you know it, you’re in deep thought- which is truly what I love about them. “Walt” is the latest single from their upcoming album No, Human and you can check out my interview with the band from back in May here!

“Walt” by Oceanic

Check out the rest of the songs featured on Fresh Brewed #12 below!

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Review: Harry Styles’ “Harry’s House”

“Harry’s House” is out now!

The funky, glittery rock infused album for all of your hot summer nights is here! With Harry’s House, Harry Styles delivers on the promise of lead single “As It Was” with a nostalgic, sometimes funky and most of the time fun third album.

There’s nothing remotely groundbreaking here- but in all honesty, there doesn’t need to be. In the several weeks since its release, Harry’s House has proven itself to have a vast listenability, with most songs continuing to get better with each subsequent listen. Even some tracks that didn’t initially grab me like “Music For a Sushi Restaurant” and “Daylight” have grown into some of my favorites. The former sets the tone perfectly for what’s to come as the album’s opener, creating this joyous atmosphere filled with love and pleasure.

Upon first listen, “Satellite” was my absolute standout track. The moment the album finished, I needed to go right back to it again and again and again. The synth heavy song tells a story of Styles’ partner keeping him at a distance, despite his desire to be there for them. “I can see you’re lonely down there, don’t you know that I am right here,” he compares himself to a satellite simply floating in orbit- left only able to watch his partner’s suffering. The bittersweet track’s atmosphere begins light- placing its listener in orbit along with Styles until the synths and drums all come together in a glorious climax. Harry also showcases his best vocals yet- it’s that damn good.

Another album standout is “Keep Driving”, a track that reminds me heavily of The 1975, which is perhaps what drew me to it so vividly. While the chorus is definitely satisfying, for me the melody of the verses and the build of the bridge are what truly make this song special. I’ve found myself humming it incessantly since my initial listen, bringing me a feeling of joy whenever it finds its way into my head. “Maple syrup, coffee, pancakes for two, hash brown, egg yolk, I will always love you,” Styles shares the simplest of details from his love affair- the moments that keep him going even when problems arise that make him question if they should in fact continue on together. “A small concern with how the engine sounds, we held darkness in withheld clouds, I would ask, ‘should we just keep driving?’

It would be impossible to talk about this album without mention of “Matilda” a song that feels so delicately personal and yet universally relatable. Named after the beloved book and movie, Styles sings to somebody with a toxic home environment- someone whose family has never treated them with the respect they deserve. The track has resonated with millions around the world, with Styles reminding them that they don’t need to feel guilty for growing up and choosing what is best for them, even if it means living without the only family they know. It’s a reminder that home isn’t necessarily a place- it can be whatever you need it to be. Whether it’s your chosen family or the love of your life or a place of your own- home is a mindset that we can all achieve. “You can let it go, you can throw a party full of everyone you know, you can start a family who will always show you love, you don’t have to be sorry for doin’ it on your own,” he somberly sings on the final chorus- essentially giving us all the hug we so desperately need.

Other album standouts “Grapejuice” and “Little Freak” showcase Harry at his best, a blend of psychedelic production on the former and a stripped down- harmony heavy chorus on the latter. Both tracks remind me somewhat of songs from Styles’ previous album Fine Line, which makes me wonder if they were perhaps written early on in his writing process. Even so, they perfectly demonstrate how this album’s tracks are all somehow extremely different from one another and yet incredibly cohesive- which is a huge compliment to his producers Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson.

Ultimately, Harry’s House is warm and inviting- bathed in welcoming tones of a sun-soaked summer. It’s full of love, freedom and an assured sense of self from an artist who has truly grown into his own sound. Harry Styles continues to impress beyond our expectations, and we can only hope he invites us over again someday soon.

Harry’s House is out now on all streaming platforms!

Cosette Talks New Single “Strings” and How the Tech Side of Music Isn’t Just for Boys

I recently had the opportunity to speak with singer and producer Cosette about her experience being the sole songwriter and producer on her new single “Strings” and the artists who have inspired her journey. Check out our conversation below!

Brew Music Friday: Let me start by congratulating you on the release of “Strings”! The blend you’ve crafted between the traditional strings sample and pop is so fascinating. Can you tell me a bit about how the song came to be?

Cosette: Thank you so much! “Strings” started from me finding this old record of orchestral music that was just begging to be flipped. I started building the beat around the violin sample and at some point it started turning into a more uplifting hopeful sound despite starting off dark. I looked around my room while listening back on a loop and saw so many clothes and gifts from my ex boyfriend lying around my room. I realized I needed to get rid of all of it if I was wanting to have a fresh start. But when I got to his letters, I couldn’t throw those away, hence the lyrics “I’ll take all your thoughts that you’ve written down in pen and I’ll keep it somewhere locked. I swear I’ll never forget it.”

BMF: So how are we feeling with the release?! I can imagine that it must be such a mixed feeling of excitement and anxiety over the world finally hearing it.

C: I feel so happy that this vision is finally born. This song is the first time I feel like the sonics accurately portrayed my emotions and not just the lyrics. Even without my voice I feel like it tells my story. I always get nervous on release day, but overall I’m just so happy that it’s finally born.

BMF: You’ve taken a lot of risks with your production throughout your discography but even more prevalently in “Strings”. Is it something you set out to do with each track or is it an unconscious decision?

C: I’m so honored to hear you think my production takes risks. That is absolutely the goal! When I listen to music, what grabs me personally is little production ear candy, the weirder the better. I want to make people’s heads tilt, squint their eyes and furrow their eyebrows when they listen to my music. I hope people are engaged and surprised every eight bars. 

BMF: Who do you feel has inspired you the most as a rising producer and songwriter?

C: Every couple months I tend to find a different artist to obsess over that inspires me. This year particularly it has been Caroline Polachek which is definitely the main inspiration for this specific track. I also am very inspired by Brakence lately, Charli XCX and FKA Twigs. Throughout my discography though, I feel like the 1975’s Matty Healy has said in interviews that he runs with the first lyrics that come to mind, the way they’re originally phrased when they first come out. I use that strategy in my lyrics.

BMF: As a fellow writer, I know just as well as you that writing comes from a place of vulnerability. For me, my pen feels most powerful when I’m making art out of my pain. What do you feel drives you creatively?

C: I write when I’m inspired and only when I’m inspired. I usually feel like writing when I’m trying to analyze my relationships. I play moments over in my head and think about how I felt, what I looked like, what my body language was, what their body language was, what my motive was, what their motive was. I definitely tend to make my art out of pain, but the goal is to understand it, find the lesson and learn from it.

BMF: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?

C: My mom has some crumbled pieces of paper that carry my first songs from when I was a kid but I don’t remember those. The first one I remember is from freshman year of highschool, something I wrote on guitar about getting butterflies riding in the car with a boy. I tend to always want to refer to memories in the car in my writing, it’s hard to refrain! Nashville’s a driving city so a lot of important memories take place there.

BMF: Having sole writing and producing credits is no small feat, but is there any artist or producer who you’d love to work with someday?

C: There are so many, Pharrell, Tyler the Creator, Ariana Grande, and Kanye West to name a few. As well as all the artists I listed earlier that have been inspiring me recently. I would love to have them produce for me, but I would absolutely die If I could produce for or with them.

BMF: You recently played a few shows in LA! How does it feel to be performing in front of crowds again after quarantine really hit us all so hard?

C: Yes! I just got back from those shows in LA and I am so happy I had the opportunity to play out there. It feels peaceful, I love telling my stories before I start the song and being vulnerable with a room full of strangers. I am so glad the world has opened back up. I have met many lovely people in person which is so refreshing with all the time spent on social media. 

BMF: Even in 2022, the music industry still has a serious gender inequality issue, specifically behind the scenes and on the production end of things. What does it mean for you to be a trailblazing female producer?

C: Trailblazing! Thank you so much! I hope to show other women that the tech side isn’t just for boys. You don’t have to wait to find the right producer to execute your tracks. Without sounding presumptuous, I hope to one day inspire other girls. 

BMF: What can fans expect to hear when your next EP drops later this year?

C: They can expect more orchestral sample flips and more beat switch ups. They can also expect some elements of hyperpop and more experimental EDM in there as well. I feel like this EP showcases a range of genres and blends them so there’s something for everyone. I’m definitely experimenting and avoiding structure and formula.

Make sure you tune in when the music video for “Strings” premieres on June 8th! You can follow Cosette on her Instagram and Spotify to stay up to date for any further announcements!

https://www.instagram.com/cosettelunsford/

Fresh Brewed Playlist #11

Hardcastle’s new single “Me from the Past” is out now!

Hardcastle writes about the uncertainty of self on his newest single “Me from the Past” which details a point of life we’ve all unfortunately experienced in feeling as if we’ve lost ourselves. “Now it’s all falling apart, I know it’s just a moment but that don’t make it any less hard. It’s like someone else is walking around in my skin, it’s getting harder to know who I am, I don’t know how long it’ll last, but I’m missing the me from the past,” he sings on the final chorus. Hardcastle, aka Graham Laderman is currently LA based and his songwriting has this raw quality to it that makes you want to bop your head and sob at the same time. Or is that just me??

Me from the Past” by Hardcastle

“Demon” by Blake Rose is another standout track from the Australian singer who seemingly never misses with each subsequent release since releasing his hit single “Lost” back in 2019. This latest track is written and produced by Rose himself and embraces more of an alternative/rock sound of pop which fits his powerful voice so perfectly. “Oh god, it makes me nauseous that I even know your name, Wish I never said hello and I just walked away,” he sings above a pulsating beat as the music swells in the chorus. If “Demon” and his other recent release “Confidence” are a sign of what Rose’s next release will be, 2022 might just be his finest year yet.

“Demon” by Blake Rose

I couldn’t possibly conclude this catch up of new music without mentioning “This Love (Taylor’s Version)”, could I? Taylor Swift continues to defy the odds, somehow taking yet another song that was already perfect and making it even better. The production feels richer, and her matured vocals are hauntingly gorgeous on this re-recording- just as they were on “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)”. But I couldn’t talk Taylor without addressing her lyrics, especially on that damn bridge. “Your kiss, my cheek, I watched you leave, your smile, my ghost, I fell to my knees. When you’re young, you just run, but you come back to what you need,” she sings of a love that she’s found again after letting it go- shattering all of our hearts in the process. It’s been such an honor to listen to every re-recording as Swift slowly regains ownership of her incredible catalogue and gives us finely improved versions in the process. Cheers to the next, but for now “This Love” has come back to us as well.

“This Love (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift

Check out the rest of the songs featured on Fresh Brewed #11 below!

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Review- Lizzy McAlpine’s “Five Seconds Flat”

‘five seconds flat’ by Lizzy McAlpine is out now!

I don’t think there’s any other way to start this review than to simply say that Lizzy McAlpine’s newest album five seconds flat has shaken me to my innermost core. In fact, since its release, I’ve struggled to listen to anything other- it’s just that damn good.

five seconds flat brings its listeners on a journey through love and heartbreak- with a story arc crafted so beautifully by McAlpine which makes the entire project feel visceral in both its happiest and saddest moments. Her pen is magical- full of metaphors and simple details that prime her listeners to hang on every single word she sings.

hate to be lame” feat Finneas- Directed by Gus Black

I’ve seen listeners comparing her to her peers like Phoebe Bridgers and Olivia Rodrigo, and while I definitely understand the comparison- it doesn’t ring true for me. I found myself reminded of watching Sara Bareilles live- her voice so clear cutting and theatrical in the exact right times and each song filled with the most poignant of details which bring a cinematic quality to the project.

Every song swell’s as they go on, never leaving us in the same place we started. This unpredictability in the production keeps every single moment exciting- specifically in cases like “firearm” and “hate to be lame”. Producers Philip Etherington and Ehren Ebbage have done exquisite work here, elevating McAlpine’s poetic lyrics to heights that other artists can merely dream of.

five seconds flat- Directed by Gus Black

The album was preceded by singles “doomsday”, “erase me” featuring Jacob Collier, “all my ghosts” and “reckless driving” featuring Ben Kessler which are all featured in her new short film five seconds flat which was directed by Gus Black and accompanies the release of the album. The film brings all of Lizzy’s imagery to life, telling a story of having one’s heart broken, attempting the so called “hoe phase”, trying to date again and finding a love worth your while. It’s perfect, and only makes me more ecstatic to see what she has planned next. Perhaps following in Bareilles’ footsteps and writing a musical? We can only hope- but for now we have this beautiful first entry in the MCU (aka the McAlpine Cinematic Universe).

Despite the album being near skipless (I’m looking at you “weird”), there are quite a few that I’ve continued to gravitate towards more than the others- and you DEFINITELY know I’m about to tell you which. “ceilings” is dreamlike and perfect for the rainy-day blues. McAlpine daydreams of a relationship that is now over, going over the details in her head and missing the feeling- not so much the person. “But it’s not real, and you don’t exist, and I can’t recall the last time I was kissed. It hits me in the car and it feels like the end of a movie I’ve seen before,” she sings on the outro, recognizing how despite missing the feeling, she knows how the story ends and doesn’t wish to repeat it.

“ceilings” by Lizzy McAlpine

“called you again” is another heartbreaking track which describes the unhealthy cycle of a relationship that she is stuck in. She knows that she should end it, she knows that it would be best for her and her partner and yet she recognizes that even as the final few notes of the song end, they’ll call each other again. “I think that I was lonely and I missed having friends, now we don’t really talk anymore and it’s good for us both, cause I know you love me the most,” the second verse reads quite tragically and is absolutely, not at all relatable to me in anyway *sigh*.

called you again” by Lizzy McAlpine

Other album standouts include “what a shame”, “orange show speedway” and the extremely vulnerable penultimate track “chemtrails” about Lizzy’s late father. It’s nearly impossible to narrow the album down to just a few favorites so my greatest piece of advice is merely to go sit down somewhere, perhaps go for a drive and feel everything that this album has to offer.

Lizzy McAlpine is an absolute star, somehow creating a musical universe so inviting and personal that I can’t remember what it felt like to not have these songs in my life. And that’s what music is all about, right? An artist making something out of their hurt or happiness and giving it to the world, so that we as listeners take it with us on our own adventures of bad first dates and nights spent crying into our pillows.

With Lizzy McAlpine here, at least we know we will never be alone.

five seconds flat is out now on all streaming platforms, and you can catch Lizzy out on tour this summer on the five seconds flat tour!

Oceanic Talk Debut Album and New Single “Alone”

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Nathan Wyatt from the East Coast based indie pop band Oceanic about their newest single “Alone”, their upcoming debut album and some East Coast tour dates. Check out what he had to say below!

Brew Music Friday: Congratulations on the release of “Alone”! For any new listeners, how would you guys describe your sound?

That’s definitely the hardest question in the world. We’re somewhere between WALK THE MOON, The 1975, and Coldplay. Probably. I could be wrong about that. I’d call us indie pop for people who also like U2. 

BMF: Who are some of your musical influences?

Coldplay, The Killers, The 1975, Harry Styles, Caroline Polachek, Dua Lipa, Brian Eno, Oneohtrix Point Never, just to name a few. Obviously we’re products of the Streaming Age, so it’s hard to condense!

BMF: How long have you all been playing together? 

Me (Nathan) and Jacob have been playing together for about six years as Oceanic, and Sam has been in the band for about five years. Joseph actually just joined last year! Though we’ve been playing shows on and off with him for around 3 years. 

BMF: You said your debut album “No, Human” will be released sometime soon. When can fans expect to hear the full project?

Our debut album is set to release in early January 2023!

BMF: You’ve said before that you hope to make listeners look inward when listening to your music. What do you hope they take out of “Alone”?

I think I’d love for them to consider the way we all act toward other people, and how that can have a deep, lasting effect. The warm or cold way we interact with people can make them feel seen and loved, or shunned and alone.

I’d love for people to consider that the way we treat other people should be constantly on the front of our minds as one of the most important things in the whole universe. I hope to get better and better at that.

And I hope they hear some sounds they like. 🙂

BMF: You all just played Charlotte Shout a few weeks back. What was that experience like?

Charlotte Shout was so great! It had high production value, an enormous stage, and a crew that worked very hard to make it happen. We’re very grateful to have played a festival that is so special to Charlotte. Can’t wait for next year! 

BMF: Can fans look forward to a tour?

We’ve got a ton of dates coming up all up and down the east coast! If folks keep up with our social media we’ll be posting about everything that’s coming together. We’re playing more shows this year than we ever have before, and we couldn’t be more excited. 

BMF: What sets “No, Human” apart from your previous EP “Angel”?

“No, Human” has larger breadth sonically and thematically. It’s all new songs, and obviously it’s longer than the “Angel” EP, so we are able to be way more creative with it. Essentially it captures what Oceanic is more fully—which is terribly exciting to us. Essentially, it’s got more bangers, more breadth of emotion, more wide varieties of sounds. Honestly, we just can’t wait for it to be out. The next single off of it will be called “Walt,” and it’ll be coming in May.

Make sure you follow Oceanic on their Instagram and other socials to stay up to date on upcoming releases and more tour dates to come! Up next you can check them out at Sonic Movement Festival in Charlotte, NC on May 14th!

https://www.instagram.com/oceanicofficial/

Review- Omar Apollo’s “Ivory”

Omar Apollo’s new album “Ivory” is out now!

After several years of releasing mixtapes and a mini album called Apolonio, Omar Apollo has finally released his debut studio album called Ivory. The 16-track project combines Apollo’s Mexican heritage with his Pop and R&B sound that has cemented him as the most versatile male singer in music right now. Ivory is both sexy and emotionally rich- and it’s absolutely worth the wait for anyone who has followed him throughout his career so far.

With Ivory, Apollo paints a picture of what love looks like for him- exploring the beauty within the pain that comes with love, as well as his own identity. Across the 16 tracks, the Mexican American singer glides effortlessly from soul baring, stripped down tracks to bilingual hip-hop- all along keeping his queerness at the forefront.

Directed by Jenna Marsh

It all began back in July of 2021 with the release of the album’s lead single “Go Away”, a beautiful combination of Omar’s smooth falsetto and pop influenced production that was made for summer night drives with the window’s down. If you’ve heard the song, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The song’s success was followed by several other releases like “Bad Life” featuring Kali Uchis and “Invincible” featuring Daniel Caesar, the latter of which was featured in my Fresh Brewed Playlist # 2!

Directed by Jake Nava

The album’s latest single “Tamagotchi” is a sexy, bouncy change of pace from the rest of the album as Apollo effortlessly raps in both English and Spanish. The high-octane track is a definite standout among the album, both exhilarating and memorable with its tongue in cheek lyrics. “Just hit me on FaceTime, feeling so good, feeling so good, singing a bass line, your body is on me, you touching up on me, we cum at thе same time.”

Another standout track is the brutally raw “Evergreen”, a song about the devastation of losing someone’s love- a feeling so universal and yet Apollo makes it feel so painfully personal. “You know you really made me hate myself, had to stop before I break myself, shoulda broke it off to date myself, you didn’t deserve me at all,” he sings on the bridge of the toll this love has taken on his mental health. He captures the pain of feeling as if you aren’t enough so vividly, even questioning if his body is what made his lover leave him in the first place. It’s that spiral we’ve all felt at one point, picking ourselves apart to try to explain why we weren’t enough for the one we loved.

“Evergreen” by Omar Apollo

“Personally” is another album standout and is my personal favorite from the track listing. The production is stripped back, mainly just an acoustic guitar and Apollo’s ethereal vocals which are layered so perfectly that they leave you hanging on every single word he sings. “Cause I really don’t wanna be here alone, too many people I don’t see no more, too many feelings I don’t feel no more,” the feeling of change and losing friends along the way give “Personally” an achingly vivid window into Apollo’s soul.

“Personally” by Omar Apollo

It would be impossible to compliment Omar’s vocals without highlighting the incredible vocal showcase that is “En El Olvido” which brings his Mexican heritage right to the forefront. In an interview with NPR, Apollo mentions how the song was inspired by his love of Juan Gabriel, who he grew up listening to. The song, which is a corrido, otherwise known as a Mexican ballad, feels so classic and yet it’s unlike anything I’ve heard on a Pop/R&B record like Ivory before.

“En El Olvido” by Omar Apollo

After scrapping an album that he had worked on during the pandemic, Omar Apollo has graced the world with Ivory, which is an incredible piece of work that somehow gets better with every listen. His versatility and fluidity bring forth a charisma unlike any of his peers- leaving his listeners sure that they are taking in the art of a master at work. Apollo is set for superstardom, and if there’s any justice in this world, he will get the recognition he deserves.

Ivory is out now on all streaming services!

Fresh Brewed Playlist #10

“That’s Where I Am” by Maggie Rogers is out now!

Maggie Rogers’ first single off of her long-awaited sophomore album Surrender is finally here and it is exquisite. “That’s Where I am” is Rogers’ first release since beginning graduate school and it fulfills every bit of expectation built by her beautiful first album. Sonically, it feels gorgeously joyous, but its lyrics paint a picture of the toll that waiting to be with the one she loved took on her. “You never touched me but I felt you everywhere,” she sings on the second verse when reminiscing of her lover’s relationship with another girl that she had to sit and watch when they were merely friends. This song will hit home for anyone who has ever felt a certain way for a friend, but it’s Maggie Rogers’ voice and storytelling that will leave you coming back for more every single time. Her second studio album Surrender will be released on July 29th.

Directed by Maggie Rogers, Warren Fu, and Michael Scanlon

“Offering” by burningforestboy is a sexy, brutally chill track from his new album STARSCREAM. The South African artist’s voice is almost hypnotic as he pours out his feelings to his lover in lines like “I won’t give you anything more than what you need Baby, you tell me what you want and you’ll receive“. The 2 minute and 19-second-long song is definitely way too short, but it begs to be endlessly repeated. The track’s success has been monumental for burningforestboy, as he’s become the first South African musician to be featured as the Cover artist for major Spotify playlists like Fresh Finds. If he continues making music like this, there’s sure to be many more milestones ahead.

Directed by burningforestboy

Gracie Abrams’ newest release “Block Me Out” is another stunningly raw collaboration between the singer and The National’s Aaron Dessner. The two previously worked on Abrams’ beautiful EP This Is What It Feels Like, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2021. “Block Me Out” is Gracie at her best- an open wound spilling out her truth with a voice that will haunt you for the rest of your days. “I think I’m burning alive, but nobody sees the fire, ’cause when I open my mouth, I seem to be stuck in silence,” she sings on the second verse of how her mind plays games with her and holds her back from the ones she loves. As always, Gracie portrays a self-awareness unlike any of her peers and somehow puts into words the feelings that we all struggle with, when the voices in our heads get too loud and we wish we could shut them down. The fact that she brings attention to it so beautifully is perhaps the first step in getting better and she’s gifting her listeners with taking that step in the right direction as well.

Shot by Arianna Shooshani

Check out the rest of the songs featured on Fresh Brewed #10 below!

Make sure you’re following my socials- lots of fun stuff coming out starting this weekend!

https://www.instagram.com/brewmusicfriday/

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