New Music Spotlight (June/July 2020)
The past two months have raced by with lightning speed! It felt as if weeks and months often blended into one solid stream of days. Before the summer passes us all by, it seemed appropriate to catch up and write a combined 'June/July' new music spotlight blog post that collects several noteworthy singles that have been released over the past two months.
In this post, we take a look at new offerings from Black Marble, Fellow Hollow, Anna Pancaldi, In Earnest, Almost Owen, and Running Red Lights. Read on and expand your musical horizons and playlists with these outstanding new songs!
Black Marble |"In Manchester" (new single)
Leading off this installment of our New Music Spotlight is Los Angeles-based coldwave/post-punk outfit Black Marble with a spot-on cover of "In Manchester," originally written and performed by the legendary post-punk band Wire and featured on their self-titled 2015 album. Born in Brooklyn and later transplanted to Los Angeles, Black Marble is the musical alias of musician Chris Stewart.
Black Marble's cover of "In Manchester" is just one of several tracks that will appear on I Must Be Living Twice, a collection of covers that the band has inserted into its recent live sets. Scheduled for an August 14 release, the EP features additional covers by the likes of The Field Mice, Lives of Angels, Grouper, and Robert Palmer. In the meantime, check out the official music video for "In Manchester," directed by Scott Kiernan at Zenith Foundation.
Fellow Hollow | "Where can I buy fresh berries at night?" (new single)
With their first new music in four years, Fellow Hollow, the project of Columbus, Ohio-based alt/indie folk duo Luke Elliot Fleeman and Andrew Gavin Williams, releases their poignant new single, "Where can I buy fresh berries at night?" While some might think that this gentle and contemplative acoustic track has some relation to the current pandemic, the song's inspiration stems from grief and associated challenges that are unique to the digital age we're all living in.
Singer and lyricist Andrew Gavin Williams comments, "The song is about the many forms grief can take—particularly in the digital age. I read an article about a woman named Eugenia who made a 'digital monument' for her friend Roman who had died tragically in an accident. The memorial was an interactive chat bot that pulled words and phrases from email and text conversations between her and her late friend throughout the years. The article touched me but left me unsettled. While the conversations felt sweet and melancholy, it all felt a bit like the entering the uncanny valley. Does our technology make it harder to get closure? What ought we do with the digital remains of our loved ones?"
The track's heartfelt, sweet sounding vocals and harmonies perfectly complement its minimal acoustic atmosphere. "Where can I buy fresh berries at night?" is the first single from Fellow Hollow's forthcoming sophomore album, due out later this summer.
Anna Pancaldi | "How Do I Live With the Blues" (new single)
The latest single from UK indie singer-songwriter Anna Pancaldi came to life during a four-month visit to the States last year while she was touring and writing at the time. "How Do I Live With the Blues" is a deeply heartfelt reflection on sudden loss and a beacon of hope and encouragement for anyone living with its associated grief. This sparse, gentle production on this piano-driven ballad is a lovely and fitting aural soundscape that allows Anna's emotive, soulful vocals to beautifully relate the song's lyrical message.
Anna comments on the new single, "I wrote 'How Do I Live With the Blues' in LA last year while I sat at my friend's piano. Loss is a grief that will call to us all throughout life and like so many others, there are immeasurable questions as to why we must suffer it. I wrote this song to speak of grappling through the pain. My hope is that this song can reach those in need of it from my version of a broken heart to theirs."
How do I live with the blues?
How do I accept the truth?
How do I wake and try to live this kind of new?
I never got to say goodbye
God tell me why
I’ll never ever be the same again
How do I live with the blues?
The single's accompanying music video was filmed by Jackie Teboul at the UK's Colchester Insititute and was directed and edited by Joe Bunyan.
In Earnest | "Come Upstairs" (new single)
Following on from their debut single ("Put Me Under") earlier this year, UK alt/indie trio In Earnest returns with their second single, "Come Upstairs," which is set to appear on the band's forthcoming 6-track debut EP, due for release in late 2020. Led by the songwriting of front-couple Sarah and Thomas, In Earnest's music is characterized by 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.
While the band's debut single is told from the viewpoint of Sarah, "Come Upstairs" is written from Thomas' perspective, as he urges Sarah not to give up hope. Thomas' genuine, laid-bare vocals provide an account of mental health from the perspective of a sufferer’s partner, aiming to encourage conversation around the topic.
We could both lock lips on this sinking ship
Watch it all go down
We could seal our fate in a frozen lake
I am love from the highest places
I am love, I know all your faces
Thomas explains, "In the wake of my partner's mental health struggles, it feels like I spend every waking moment trying to keep a brave or positive face on and there are times when I find it difficult to maintain my own identity. We're gradually learning how to combat negative thinking, but I'm usually the one who takes the weight and pulls her out of waves of depression."
Watch the band's brand new music video for "Come Upstairs," which features some creative face art from Stacey at SLF Make Up.
Almost Owen | "The Way That You Love" (new single)
Boston-based independent pop artist Almost Owen (a.k.a. Isaac Haselkorn) paints a vibrant, upbeat summer soundscape in the form of his powerful new single, "The Way That You Love." The song's lyrical theme addresses discovering another dimension to the one you're in love with, contemplating how to handle it, and ultimately interpreting it as "the way that you love."
This energetic new track should speak to anyone who has been stuck in their heads and needs a break and fleeting glimpse back into the carefree, pre-pandemic world. Almost Owen describes "The Way That You Love" as "a quarantine record I made before I knew anything about the coronavirus." Mixed by Greg Ogan (Rihanna, Sean Kingston), "The Way That You Love" is the dreamy, uptempo medicine that might just become the soundtrack to your 2020 summer introspective.
Running Red Lights | "Hollow" (new single)
In early April, Toronto indie-pop/folk band Running Red Lights announced the retirement of the current music project. With that, the band revealed that the finale of their 15 year career would be marked with the release of four singles over the course of 2020 - what they're calling a 'Sendoff Series' of singles.
The band's lengthy career has been characterized by a multitude of awards, notable performances, international tours, as well as some beautifully crafted music. Their farewell show was played to a sold out Toronto audience in November 2019. Running Red Lights' chief architects, Kevin Howley and Scarlett Flynn, have since been haunted by the ghosts of abandoned songs that currently exist only in the consciousness of an old hard-drive.
"Flower in the Concrete" is the band's first single in the Sendoff Series - a light, warm indie pop number that was launched in early May. The second installment, "Hollow," is an upbeat nod to 80's darkwave/pop with its melodic and highly infectious, sing-along chorus.
Where you felt it, felt it, now is nothing
Where you felt it, felt it, now is numb
Where you felt it, felt it, now is nothing
Where you felt it, felt it, now is hollow, hollow
Is a hollow heart
The official music video to "Hollow" was created by Running Red Lights' own Scarlett Flynn. Be sure to follow the band on social media and streaming services to take in the two remaining songs in their Sendoff Series. We hope to hear more from Scarlett and Kevin in a future musical incarnation!