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New Music Spotlight (June 2021)

In this June edition of New Music Spotlight, we take a brief look and listen to new single releases from Freedom Fry, Squirrel Flower, Middle Youth, Tia Kofi, Allison Ponthier, and Madeline The Person. Read on, listen, and enjoy!

Be sure to check out the SoundThread Music Blog Spotify playlist where you can stream the singles below and a lot more great new indie tunes!

Freedom Fry | Oops!... I Did It Again (new cover single)

With all the recent news and revelations about the Britney Spears conservatorship and the #FreeBritney movement, I can't think of a better way to open this month's New Music Spotlight than with a listen to Freedom Fry's acoustic cover of "Oops! ... I Did It Again." The Los Angeles-based, indie/alt-folk married duo of French girl Marie Seyrat and American boy Bruce Driscoll recorded this impressive cover several years ago, garnering national attention after the track was featured in Season 12 of Grey's Anatomy. The officially released version can be found on Freedom Fry's new Reprises II EP, which also features French and English cover versions of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and a captivating cover of Roy Orbison's "Dream Baby." While you're checking out these impressive covers, be sure to give a listen to the duo's original compositions on their outstanding all-French album, L'Invitation, as well as the captivating Songs from the West Coast album from 2020.

Squirrel Flower | I'll Go Running (new single)

Singer-songwriter and rising indie music presence Squirrel Flower (a.k.a., Ella O'Connor Williams) just released her stellar sophomore album, Planet (i), reportedly a made-up name for the new planet people who will inevitably settle and destroy after leaving Earth. 'Planet (i) is my body and mind," Ella comments on social media, "and it's the physical and emotional world of our planet. It's both." "I'll Go Running" is the mesmerizing and powerful opener to Planet (i). With warm, ethereal vocals and a gradual and graceful transition to the song's powerful and climactic chorus ("I’ll be newer than before | I’ll be something that you've never seen."), this impressive track, produced by Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, Perfume Genius), is the perfect lead in to the eleven poignant songs that follow.

Middle Youth | Chocolates (new single)

"You say chocolate and I say no," Middle Youth's Harper James sings on his new upbeat, electronic single release, "Chocolates." Without any warning, Middle Youth has released three impressive new singles ("Chocolates," "Headache" and "We're OK") over the past few weeks without the least bit of fanfare. But all of these are truly worthy of some attention (hence the shout out here). If I didn't know any better, I would have mistaken "Chocolates" as a new track from EDM masters Above & Beyond. Anyone familiar with A&B would probably agree that the vocal parts on "Chocolates" would be a perfect match for recurring A&B vocalist Zoë Johnston.

One half of Brooklyn-based indie duo Eighty Ninety by day, Harper is not one to sit idle outside the Eighty Ninety project. Aside from producing, mentoring and helping craft the sounds of a slew of rising star musicians in Brooklyn's Degraw Sound studios, Harper engineers and contributes keys, production and guitar on a number of tracks you're probably already listening to. One of Harper's most recent contributions is on the new acoustic version of Ben Platt's "Imagine" where he lays down some impressive acoustic guitar accompaniment to this beautiful song. Keep your eye on anything Harper creates and produces - there's definitely something special and authentic to everything he plays a part in crafting.

Tia Kofi | Outside In (acoustic) (new single)

Probably best-known as the London-based drag queen who competed on the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race UK, singer and recording artist Tia Kofi (a clever pun on "tea or coffee") releases the infectious and impressive acoustic version of her recent single, "Outside In." I recently heard this version on Attitude Magazine's #PrideAtHome online YouTube broadcast and was immediately taken by the melody, authenticity and earnest message of the song. Co-written by Little Boots, Tom Asqual and Gil Lewis, "Outside In" is Tia's infectious musical anthem to looking beyond the surface of a person to one's true core qualities and worth.

You're looking from the outside in

And I'm doing fine

All the things that I wanna do

Without you

Allison Ponthier | Harshest Critic (new single)

You might already recognize the sweet, magnetic vocals of singer-songwriter Allison Ponthier from her recent duet with Ben Schneider on Lord Huron's melancholic, indie/alt country ballad "I Lied." Hopefully that exposure introduces new followers and fans to Allison's own authentic, honest storytelling, songwriting and charismatic vocals. Allison's musical journey and ambition have continually grown over the years as she moved from the Bible Belt outskirts of Dallas to the indie-folk music scene of Brooklyn, NY. Staying true to her musical roots, her latest single, "Harshest Critic," is an infectious acoustic gem that features her gorgeous and emotive vocals, as she earnestly ponders who might be the harshest critic at a musical performance.

If I’m being honest

Don’t know if i can tell you

Who's the harshest critic in the room

It could be the studio audience

But they’re just payin' for admission

And I’m the one with everything to lose

Who's the harshest critic in the room

Madeline The Person | Haunted (new single)

With one of the most fitting songs to round out your Pride Month playlist, "Haunted," the new single from singer-songwriter Madeline The Person, is one of the most beautiful, honest and poignant ballads I've recently heard. Madeline reflects on her first love in this beautifully written track. "It's a song for the things that remain hidden within us and wish to be set free. I remember so badly needing to exclaim my love for the first time ever – it was hard to realize that coming out has to happen on your own time, under the circumstances that you want," Madeline comments on social media. "Be patient with the people close to you. They will tell the world who they are eventually, and when they do, it will be so beautifully joyous. I hope this song serves as a reminder that love carries no shame and is meant to be celebrated instead of hidden."

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