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  • Tom H

New Music Spotlight (January 2020)

Kicking off the first New Music Spotlight of 2020, our virtual travels take us to Gothenburg, Chicago, London, Seattle and Los Angeles. We take a look at and listen to impressive new music releases from KÅRP, Thompson Springs, Deanna Devore, Izzy Thomas, Jeff Pianki, and SYML. Be sure to add these stunning new tracks to your new music playlists!

KÅRP | "Left Handed" (new single)

KÅRP, the Gothenburg-based creators of death disco, release "Left Handed," their first single of the year, and first new music since Album I, their eponymous 2019 debut album. The track's unsettling, otherworldly intro soon transforms into a shimmering, anthemic chorus in the characteristic and elegant KÅRP style led by Anna-Maria Lundberg's instantly recognizable vocals: "Luck it strikes from the right side | but you are left-handed."

The single's accompanying music video illuminates a dark, abandoned industrial setting with a blazing and brilliant laser show.

Thompson Springs | "Deadly Stare" (new single)

Chicago-based indie band Thompson Springs releases "Deadly Stare," the first single from their forthcoming debut album Undertones. With 'spoken word'-like vocals that seem to draw inspiration from the likes of Bob Dylan and Kurt Vile, Thompson Springs' founder and lead vocalist Matt Smith narrates how "It's been hard to steady my heart." The track's melodic synth riffs are also one of the song's highlights, giving "Deadly Stare" an entrancing, uplifting vibe that elegantly complements the verses. In addition to Matt Smith, the band's current line-up consists of Jacob Bicknase, David Thrift, and Jeff Sullivan.

The single's accompanying music video, directed by Joe Martinez Jr., was shot in one day in and around the Pilsen and Logan Square neighborhoods of Chicago.

Deanna Devore | "Lately (feat. M. Istri)" (new single)

Chicago and Toronto based multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and producer Deanna Devore's new single, "Lately" is an impressive, downtempo, neo-soul track with mellow grooves and smooth, lo-fi electronic beats. Deanna's velvety vocals and captivating melodies are complemented by the emotive and soulful vocals of "a mystery vocalist who cannot yet be announced" (per the press release). Exciting!

Thematically, "Lately" narrates the insecurity and ups and downs of a relationship, detailing how love can often feel like an emotional roller coaster until it finally comes to an end. Keep an eye on Deanna's social media sites for forthcoming news about the "M. Istri" vocalist.

Izzy Thomas | "Mad" (new single)

London based singer-songwriter Izzy Thomas' new single, "Mad," is a fiercely powerful homage to all the emotions one experiences when faced with the prospect of unrequited love. With standout electronic beats, guitar lead melodies and Izzy's powerhouse vocal presence, "Mad" is an honest, instantly embraceable song that will easily find its way onto your music playlists.

Regarding the track's lyrical theme, Izzy confides, "In the single world, there seems to be a sea of emotionally damaged, unavailable people. Sometimes we subconsciously inhabit our ex's ways and display them in our next relationship, because we're afraid of opening up again. For the people ready for love this is irritating as hell! So this song is a lighthearted poke of fun, about how ridiculous it all really is!"

In addition to her musical career, Izzy campaigns for Autism Awareness. From experience with her own family member having Autism, she performs in schools and colleges around the UK to young adults talking about what it is, how to recognize it and how we can all be compassionate towards people with Autism. "It feels great to use the power of my music to help get a message across," explains the singer.

Check out Izzy's performance in the accompanying music video for "Mad" - featuring Izzy and an attic storage room full of department store mannequins.

SYML | "Flags" (new single)

Seattle-based indie singer-songwriter SYML (a.k.a. Brian Fennell) releases "Flags," a touching, emotional and beautifully melodic song that touches upon one of the most troubling and relentless diseases that affects countless numbers of people: Cancer.

SYML relates, "I struggle with things that seem supernatural but are actually very natural. Cancer is natural. Nature is undiscerning and unforgiving. Cancer is raw and shapes the landscape of our lives. The metaphors run deep but they don’t make mourning someone any less painful, especially before they leave us." He continues, "I wrote 'Flags' like I write many of my songs, as a sort of therapy. It's from the perspective of our bodies experiencing cancer. We meet pain and hopelessness with community and fight, and the fight is meaningful. Cancer f**king sucks and life is beautiful."

Jeff Pianki | "Song About" (new single)

I first discovered the music of Los Angeles-based acoustic-folk singer-songwriter Jeff Pianki with his recent single release "Weight of the World," a beautifully smooth indie/folk rock gem that immediately found its way into my regular listening. Jeff's most recent single release, "Song About," caught my attention with its eloquent, straight-from-the-heart lyrics and simple, yet elegant acoustic presentation ("This is a song about you and me and everything else that falls in between").

Co-produced, engineered and mixed by Steven James Aguilar (Heatmaps), "Song About" is Jeff's third single release from his anticipated forthcoming album. In addition to his recent singles, do your ears a favor and take a listen to some of Jeff's previously released material, and place this emerging musician on your musical radar.

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