New Music Spotlight (April 2020)
In this April edition of our New Music Spotlight blog post series, we take a sampling of new single releases from alt/indie musicians around the world. Read on and be sure to listen to the fresh, impressive new offerings from In Earnest, Leland Blue, Delta Crash, Fenne Lily, Beoga (feat. Lissie), and FIAMA.
In Earnest | "Put Me Under" (debut single)
Hailing from the coastal town of Southend-on-Sea east of London, alt/indie trio In Earnest releases their ethereally acoustic debut single, "Put Me Under." Fueled by the songwriting of front-couple Sarah and Thomas, this contemplative and atmospheric track features Sarah's soothing and delicately melodic vocals sharing an honest, personal account of depression and loneliness, aiming to encourage conversation around mental health.
"Put Me Under" is written from Sarah's perspective. "I suffer from chronic anxiety and depression, to the point where I can't hold down jobs or be left alone for too long. In my loneliness I am awash with negative thoughts. The song is about feeling overcome by an invisible illness, but knowing it's a lot easier to cope in the company of a dog."
I'll never be lonely with a dog beside
Everyone says to keep going 'til you see the light
I might just find a carousel and take a ride
The steady, gentle acoustic finger-style and light reverb create a dreamy, ethereal soundscape that works beautifully for presenting this lovely and touching song. The band's organic recording style (captured live in one room without click tracks or auto-tune) will resonate with fans of Phoebe Bridges, Elliot Smith and Julien Baker.
"Put Me Under" is the first single from In Earnest's forthcoming EP, presenting just one side of the band's story. Their songwriting is a continual call and response from two perspectives: a call from one who feels too much and a response from the other who must plead for them to stay alive.
Leland Blue | "Starting Over" (new single)
I first discovered the sounds of alternative rock group Leland Blue at a Sofar Sounds show in Chicago several years ago. I've been continually impressed with how the band's music has flourished and their fanbase has steadily expanded in the past few years. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Leland Blue finds its musical roots in the songwriting of brothers Ben and Connor Roberston, along with the cousin Satchel Robertson.
The band's latest single, "Starting Over," is brimming with solid melody, impressive guitar hooks, soaring heartfelt vocals and a killer, infectious chorus. The production on this number is outstanding, giving the spacious vocals a 'just right' placement above the atmospheric, subtly layered keyboards and glittery, expansive guitars.
I've got a plan I'm starting over
I hate to do it but i'm only getting older
I've got a plan I'm starting over
I can't go through this
I can't go through it again
In addition to the lush, studio version of the song that you'll find on Spotify and other streaming services, take a watch and listen to the impressive stripped down acoustic version of "Starting Over," filmed by Fischer Genau, and featuring Ben and Connor, each on acoustic guitar.
Delta Crash | "Another Round" (new single)
With their ultra-smooth brand of atmospheric, guitar-driven indie pop, Belgian musical outfit Delta Crash releases "Another Round," the second single from its forthcoming EP, which is expected to be released this autumn. I was immediately taken in by the clever, entrancing keyboard pitch bends at the outset of this appealing, upbeat track. Warm guitar hooks, dreamy vocals, catchy bass lines and steady tempo float atop the recurring pitch bends, giving this track a captivating, chill presence and vibe.
The single's accompanying music video gives a nod to the Golden Record time capsules that were placed on the 1977 NASA Voyager 1 & 2 spacecrafts. The video's plot features a space-faring robot from another planet who finds this elusive washed up celestial bottle.
Fenne Lily | "Hypochondriac"
Bristol-based musician Fenne Lily experienced her big breakthrough in 2018 with her stunning, self-released debut album, On Hold, which treated listeners to the soft, smoky sound of Fenne's vocals atop outstanding acoustic guitar accompaniments.
Fenne's new single, "Hypochondriac," is a musically upbeat, guitar-driven number that features her delicate, velvety vocals. Ironically, the subject matter being narrated atop this glistening indie pop gem takes on a deeper, darker tone. On her social media pages, Fenne comments, "Hypochondriac is the title, preoccupation with death is the theme."
So leave it out
We're all sick of waiting for a moment
To stop and sleep it off
I'm freaking out
Now I'm sick and waiting for a moment
To stop and not feel so much
"Hypochondriac" is a yet another gorgeous-sounding release from this emerging musician, and one that leaves me wanting to hear more from Fenne Lily.
Beoga feat. Lissie | "In a Rocket" (new single)
One of the most uplifting, rousing songs I've heard in the past few weeks is the uplifting, foot-stomping, sing-along "In a Rocket," from Northern Irish folk outfit Beoga, featuring the one and only Lissie on lead vocals. It seem appropriate that Beoga means "lively" in Irish, since that's the first word that comes to mind as I listen to this contagious blend of Irish rhythm and Lissie's soaring, folky vocals.
Set to appear on the band's forthcoming mini-album, Carousel, "In a Rocket" finds its lyrical theme looking for better times and escape from the world - something we can all relate to nowadays.
We're breaking outta here tonight In a rocket, In a rocket
We're going to set the world alight
In a rocket, In a rocket
We'll make it outta here alive
In a rocket, In a rocket
Check out the single's accompanying lyric video, and sing along to this therapeutic musical escape from your earthly troubles.
FIAMA | "Oowaa" (new single)
You immediately know you're in for something big and unique from the first sounds of "Oowaa," the enchanting new single from Brooklyn singer-songwriter FIAMA. The pronounced finger snaps keep the core tempo throughout this upbeat, dancy, musical gem that emanates the culture and sounds of Brazil. Before we reach the bright, moving chorus of "Oowaa", we effortlessly float through the core musical elements of the track. Impeccably placed sounds of classic Spanish guitar, horns, and big beat percussion give way to FIAMA's charming, alluring vocals narrating the tale of "Oowaa" in both English and Portuguese.
"'Oowaa' is part of a full circle journey that I've taken musically and spiritually," Fiama says of her new single. "I'm proud to be part Brazilian, or as we'd say 'tenho orgulho de ser brasileiro.' 'Oowaa' is an expression of that 'orgulho' (pride), linguistically and emotionally."
Produced by Ben Rice of Degraw Sound, the track's clever blend of Brazilian tones with contemporary indie pop results in an uplifting, charming vibe that's magically crisp and airy, without any 'crowding' of the song's musical elements and vocals.