Song of the Day Challenge – Day 14: SHIPS HAVE SAILED – “Rise”

Song A Day Challenge

Sadly, all good things must eventually come to an end, and today is the 14th and final installment of the Song of the Day Challenge I’ve been doing over the past two weeks. The final day’s theme is “Your song of the day”, and my pick is the new single “Rise” by Ships Have Sailed. The Los Angeles-based duo consists of songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Will Carpenter and drummer Art Andranikyan, and I featured them twice on this blog last year when I reviewed their beautiful singles “Escape” and “Skin”. (You can read those reviews by clicking on the links under ‘Related’ at the end of this post.)

Like many of their songs, “Rise” is an uplifting song of resilience and hope. The song’s lyrics are particularly relevant given the current state of things as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, which has essentially upended everyone’s life. This past March, after much planning and preparation, Ships Have Sailed embarked on what was to be a 10-show tour across the Southwest with fellow L.A. band Quitting Whitney. After playing only the first show in Las Vegas, their tour came to an abrupt halt the next day as the COVID-19 outbreak suddenly began spiraling out of control. They were forced to turn around and head back to L.A., their tour and dreams in ashes. I had purchased tickets to see them at the legendary Troubadour on March 22, and needless to say was terribly disappointed.

Like all musicians and bands, Will and Art were forced to reassess their plans for the months ahead, and decided to release “Rise” as a single. About the song, Will explained: “In the midst of all the chaos that was happening around us, I felt oddly calm. I can remember realizing that our touring plans were likely done at least for six months and quite possibly longer, and knowing we needed to adjust. I’d had this song “Rise” finished for a minute, but it hadn’t really showed me where it belonged yet. I just sort of realized that it was here in this situation we’re all living through where it belongs…in the middle of this chaos, reminding us all that we can, and will, weather this storm.”

The song has more of an alt-rock feel than many of their recent songs, with gnarly synth bass grooves and more aggressive percussion. Will’s vocals are as sublime as ever though. Take a listen:

Follow Ships Have Sailed: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music: Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase:  iTunes  / Google Play / Amazon

Song of the Day Challenge – Day 13: COLD WAR KIDS – “Complainer”

Song A Day Challenge

Today’s Song of the Day Challenge theme is “A song that describes you”. Self-reflection can often be a difficult thing to do, but sadly, I have to go with the song “Complainer” by L.A. alt-rock band Cold War Kids. While some of the lyrics don’t exactly describe me or my personality, the title absolutely does. All my life, I’ve been a glass half-empty pessimist and malcontent. I bitch, whine or moan about at least one thing or another on a daily basis, driving those around me nuts for as long as I can remember. I wish it were otherwise, but it is what it is. On the plus side, three things that keep me from being a complete asshole are my inherent kindness, empathy and sense of humor.

Getting back to the music, I’m a big fan of Cold War Kids. My favorite songs from them are “First”, “Love is Mystical”, “So Tied Up” and “Miracle Mile”, and I also love their cover of Rihanna’s “Love On the Brain”.


9fm – Single Review: “First Blush”

9fm - Jarrod Pedone

9fm (short for Ninth Floor Mannequin) is the solo music project of New Jersey-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jarrod Pedone. Drawing influences from some of his favorite artists like Paul Simon, Fleet Foxes and James Blake, Pedone melds folk and alternative rock, injecting bits of synth pop here and there to create fascinating and pleasing songs. He’s also a big fan of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone, as well as the more recent Twilight Zone-influenced British sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror, and many of his song lyrics are based on particular episodes of those shows.

In September 2018, I reviewed 9fm’s marvelous EP Little House, and am now happy to feature his latest single “First Blush” which dropped April 27th. The song is based on Season 3, Episode 4 of Black Mirror, entitled “San Junipero”. San Junipero is a simulated beach resort town where the deceased can live and the elderly can visit, all inhabiting their younger selves’ bodies in a time of their choosing. The plot involves two women, Yorkie and Kelly, who meet at a nightclub, and eventually become romantically involved. They meet up at different times over the years in both San Junipero and in the real world, where they face real-life complications. In the end, both are euthanised so that they can be together in San Junipero.

9fm wrote the music and lyrics, sang vocals and performed all the music on “First Blush”, as well as recording, mixing and mastering the track himself in his home studio. Starting with skittering percussion and assertive drumbeats, he layers lo-fi synths, humming keyboards, and what sounds like a bass guitar, though it could also be guitar that’s been fed though a pedal or some other device to give it a deeper tone. The result is a dramatic, fast-paced song that captures the sense of urgency and emotional intensity described in the lyrics about an unusual and logistically challenging love affair. His smooth vocals have an ethereal, almost otherworldly quality that’s quite pleasing and well-suited to the subject matter. “First Blush” is another fine effort from this talented guy.

A life in a place & time, we didn’t choose
Abide by the rules we find, oh ’ til we’re through
Then I decide on a place in a time to reside that I wished were true
But who we are we can’t escape, so I wrecked that too

At first blush
I came on way too strong
I’d never known someone like you
So I knew first, the path that I would choose
I’d trade that life for one with you
Please see it through
You’re all I have to lose

A place in a time designed for our own use
A place we can feel alive, in health & youth
So I decide on a place in a time to reside that I wished were true
So now here we are now free to stay, until we’re through

Without a doubt, the lives we learn to lead die out, & then, leaving us only
to find out, the lives we’re meant to lead are found, not with, but without, stable ground

Follow 9fm:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music:  SpotifySoundcloud / iTunes
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

Song of the Day Challenge – Day 12: THE BEATLES – “She Loves You”


Today’s Song of the Day Challenge theme is “A song from your childhood” and my pick is “She Loves You” by The Beatles. It ranks among their greatest songs, and is one of my all-time favorite Beatles songs.

Anyone who was a kid or teenager in the early to mid 1960s remembers the first time they heard a song by The Beatles. They started out playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany in 1960, and in October 1962, their first single “Love Me Do” was released in the UK. “She Loves You” was released in the UK in August 1963, where it became the best-selling single of 1963, and remains to this day the top-selling Beatles single ever in the UK.

Because of contract disputes with their American label Vee-Jay Records, “She Loves You” ended up being released in the U.S. by Swan Records in September 1963. Shockingly, it sold only around 1,000 copies and failed to chart. But after the meteoric success of the Capitol Records release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” launched the so-called “British Invasion” of the American music scene at the end of 1963, “She Loves You” finally entered the Billboard chart in late January 1964, and spent four weeks at #2 behind “I Want to Hold Your Hand” before replacing it at #1 that March.

It’s such a joyful and exhilarating song that resonates with young and old alike. The lyrics are from the perspective of a go-between, who tells a friend that his estranged girlfriend still loves him, and that he needs to apologize to make things right with her:

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

You think you’ve lost your love
Well, I saw her yesterday
It’s you she’s thinking of
And she told me what to say

She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad

She said you hurt her so
She almost lost her mind
But now she says she knows
You’re not the hurting kind

She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad, ooh

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
And with a love like that
You know you should be glad

You know it’s up to you
I think it’s only fair
Pride can hurt you too
Apologize to her

Because she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad, ooh

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

SURRIJA – Album Review: “Surrija”

Surrija Albumcover

This past January, I introduced my readers to Surrija, the music project of the hyper-talented singer-songwriter Jane Lui, when I reviewed her marvelous single “Nothing Love”. The song was the lead single of her self-titled album Surrija, which dropped April 3rd. Born and raised in Hong Kong, and now based in Los Angeles, Lui began studying classical piano at the age of five, and that traditional training, combined with her love for the music of artists like Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Björk, helped shape her unique sound and music style. She has a gorgeous and unusual singing voice, and uses it almost like another instrument in her arsenal, seducing us with tender whispers one moment, then startling us with a feral urgency the next.

Recording under her given name, Lui produced three studio albums between 2004 and 2010, along with numerous singles and covers, which you can find on her SpotifySoundcloud, and YouTube pages. Despite her success, however, she felt constrained, and wanted to make music that more closely reflected what she refers to as her “slightly feral tendencies.” It was with this new approach that Lui rebranded herself as Surrija. In 2016 she spent time in Barcelona, Spain, where she initially found inspiration from Picasso’s artistic output during his own years spent living there. But eventually, she became fascinated instead with his famous lovers and muses who he kept in the shadows, often preventing them from realizing their own potential. Wanting to tell their story, she began researching about some of them and writing songs for what would become her debut album Surrija. As a concept album, Surrija is a complex and remarkable work, with a lot to unpack. Not being a musician, I approach this review with a bit of trepidation, as I hope to adequately articulate at least some of its many nuances.

The first album cut and lead single “Nothing Love” actually predates her time spent in Barcelona, as it was written in 2013. The song – and the entire album actually – is a musical feast for the ears, with an impressive array of instruments, synths and sounds. Starting with a foundation of stuttering dubstep beats, Surrija and her team of musicians layer a rich and colorful kaleidoscope of sounds and textures to create a dramatic and rather chaotic soundscape that thrills and surprises at every turn. Surrija plays the Moog synthesizer, electric organ, piano and mellotron, Matt Chamberlain plays drums, mixed percussion and modular synths, Maxwell Gualtieri plays electric guitar, Sophocles Papavasilopoulos plays piano and clarinet, and Christine Tavolacci plays the enchanting flute that’s one of the song’s highlights for me. Lui told the webzine Clout: “‘Nothing Love’ is about the kind of heartbreak that hurts so much it feels absurd”, and her fervent vocals most definitely convey that kind of emotional intensity.

Surrija and gang
Albert Chiang, Surrija, Maxwell Gualtieri & Sophocles Papavasilopoulos

Next up is “Barcelona“, one of my personal favorites on the album. Like most of the tracks, it was co-written by Lui and Albert Chiang, and while the lyrics are ambiguous to me, the song’s arrangement and Surrija’s captivating vocals are incredible. The song starts off almost tentatively, with wobbly industrial synths set to a slow dubstep beat as Surrija’s softly croons. Subtle keyboards and haunting guitar notes enter as the song builds, soaring to a dramatic crescendo in the chorus as she passionately sings “I’ll be waiting in Barcelona”, covering me in goosebumps.

A number of songs are named for Picasso’s paintings, muses or lovers, the first of which is “Sylvette“, which is also the title of Picasso’s 1954 painting of a young woman with a pony tail. The model for the painting was a young French woman named Lydia Sylvette David, who worked in a pottery studio near Picasso’s studio. Finding her appearance appealing, he ultimately created 40 works inspired by her. It’s been said that she was an inspiration for actress Brigitte Bardot and the Roger Vadim film And God Created Woman. Now 85, Lydia starting drawing to pass the time while she sat for Picasso, and became an artist in her own right. (Wikipedia) Musically, “Sylvette” has a throbbing synth-driven dance vibe with funky guitars and sharp drumbeats. Surrija’s soulful vocals remind of a bit of Madonna on this track, which actually sounds to me like a song Madonna could have sung in the 90s.

Minotaur” is inspired by Picasso’s fascination with the mythical creature, which was a prominent and recurring motif in his artwork from 1928-1958. The bull is a significant element in Spanish culture, representing power and strength, as evidenced in the rituals of bullfighting and the running of the bulls. For the online art webzine Widewalls, art critic Balasz Takac observed that Picasso “apparently perceived himself as the Minotaur, a creature of huge physical power and sexual energy, which suited his need for expressing the male principal in all of its glory. He somehow saw the battle in corrida through the prism of his own relationships with women. On the other hand, it is also important to point out that the bull is a rebellious and durable animal eager to resist the attacker, which is relevant in the light of Picasso’s political engagement and reaction on the rising Fascism in the 1930s.”

I may be way off, but the lyrics “Behind the terror where the gentle lives / Breathing heavy always counting on the scars and open wounds / She knows those lilies and nightlight” seem to speak to how one of Picasso’s lovers would deal with him in the context of his identity as a Minotaur.

Another favorite track of mine is the enchanting “Dora“, highlighted by beautiful violin, deep, resonant piano keys, and Surrija and Albert Chiang’s exquisite vocal harmonies. The song is named for French photographer, painter and poet Dora Maar (aka Henriette Theodora Markovitch), who had a tempestuous affair with Picasso from 1935-43 (even though he was still somewhat involved with his previous lover Marie-Thérèse Walter). He painted many portraits of her, often depicting her as a tortured, anguished woman, which she did not appreciate. The most well known of these portraits is “The Weeping Woman.” Her sentiments are vividly expressed in the lyrics: “You introduced me to your war / I learned a lot keep folding it in / Take care of the dark / Knife between the roses on the table top / The blood I kept and promised / Like a dream come true / You’re a dream come true.

Serial philanderer and overall louse that he was, Picasso dumped Dora for his next lover Marie Françoise Gilot, with whom he had a stormy affair from 1943-53, and subject of the song “Gilot“. She was also an accomplished artist, but her professional career was eclipsed by her involvement with Picasso. After they split up, he discouraged galleries from showing or buying her work, and tried to block the publication of her memoir Life with Picasso. (Still alive at 98, she later married Jonas Salk, developer of one of the first polio vaccines.) “Gilot” has a harsher, lo-fi sound, with a skittering dubstep beat and spacey synths, highlighted with some somber piano keys. With breathy, ethereal vocals, Surrija softly laments as Gilot, coming to terms with Picasso’s shortcomings and finally choosing to move on: “You could be here with history waiting / Keep still for a moment / ‘Cause I know you and all you want to take / I see you through your loops and endings / Sweet wreckage awaiting / It’s hard but i will walk away.

Turnstile Hostile” seems to address Picasso’s penchant for having a revolving door of lovers, and his mistreatment and ultimate discarding of them: “Turnstile hostile temperamental / We lined up for your blows / Arms up gun point my anger hollowed / Can’t feel the quiet it’s time to go.” The gnarly synths, gritty bass and punchy drums create a discordant vibe that suits the biting lyrics. “Semibelieve” is a rather haunting, ethereal song with ambient psychedelic synths, delicate piano keys and distant sounds of crickets. I can’t figure out what the lyrics are about, but Surrija’s soft, breathy vocals are lovely as she sings them.

Mercy Street” is a beautiful and haunting cover of the song written by Peter Gabriel that originally appeared on his 1986 album So. Though unrelated to the subject matter of the other tracks, it seems to fit the album’s overall theme quite well, The album features two brief instrumental tracks, the first of which “She Learned to Not Be Scared” consists of a pensive but lovely piano melody accompanied by ambient sounds of rain and thunder, broken at the end by sounds of a tape recorder being turned on with some entirely different music playing before being abruptly shut off. The second is “H.U.M.“, which is essentially 30 seconds of deep synth bass.

The album closes with the beautiful piano ballad “Almost Time“, a bittersweet song that seems to speak to broken relationships and the pain they leave in their wake: “Well it’s almost time / Maybe you’ll get lucky / At least in my mind / No answers for I know I’d lose / But i can say ‘least I tried so I can hide.” The only sounds we hear are Surrija’s captivating piano and vocals that start off tender and heartfelt, then rise to an impassioned plea in the chorus that brings chills.

Surrija is a brilliant and innovative work, and one of the most fascinating albums I’ve heard so far this year. Though each track can stand on its own, I think the album should be listened to in its entirety from beginning to end to fully appreciate its beauty, power and nuance. Surrija and her fellow musicians have crafted a stunning work that should make them all quite proud.

Connect with Surrija:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream her music:  Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase: Google Play / cdbaby

Song of the Day Challenge – Day 11: JUDY GARLAND – “The Man That Got Away”

Song A Day Challenge

Today’s Song of the Day Challenge is “A song you wish you could witness live”, and my pick is “The Man That Got Away” by Judy Garland. Specifically, it’s her performance of the classic torch song at her legendary concert at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961, which many called “the greatest night in show business history”. Truth be told, I would like to have seen her perform any one of a number of her iconic songs at that show, but choose “The Man That Got Away” because of the incredible sense of vulnerability and heartbreak she conveys in her powerfully raw performance that really tears me up. By 1961, Garland had endured many difficulties, heartaches and setbacks in her life and career, and this show was a personal and professional triumph for her.

Judy Garland had a deep and resonant vocal style in the contralto range, characterized by a tremulous, powerful vibralto. Her voice was unparalleled, and in my opinion, she was one of the greatest vocalists of the 20th Century. In a piece he wrote for Turner Classic Movies, biographer Jonathan Riggs commented that Garland had a tendency to imbue her vocals with a seemingly contradictory combination of fragility and resilience that eventually became a signature trademark of hers. “Those who saw her perform live spoke of the experience in almost mystical terms, especially a comeback performance captured on the Grammy-winning Judy at Carnegie Hall, widely considered the greatest night in show business history. Literally giving her life for her art, Garland poured her soul out in every song, achieving immortality of the highest order and recognition as one of the greatest entertainers of all time.”

The recording from that show, which featured a full orchestra conducted by Mort Lindsey, was released as a two-record album Judy at Carnegie Hall in July 1961. The album became a best seller, spending 73 weeks on the Billboard album chart, 13 of them at #1. It won Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Best Female Vocal Performance, Best Engineered Album, and Best Album Cover, and has never gone out of print  since its release 59 years ago! In 2003, it was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. (Wikipedia)

Here’s a famous scene from the 1954 version of A Star is Born where an awestruck Norman Maine, played by James Mason, watches Judy as Esther Blodgett perform the song at an after-hours club:

BEN PRIORY – EP Review: “Solent Side”

Ben PrioryBen Priory is a talented young music producer and composer from the southern English coastal city of Portsmouth. Influenced by some of his favorite artists like twenty one pilots, Mike Shinoda and Only The Poets, he skillfully creates fascinating and compelling synthwave and synthpop songs having a level of maturity beyond his young age. Last June (2019), he released his stunning debut single “Here We Go”, a collaboration with fellow musician and singer/songwriter Charlie Pereira, both of whom were only 17 years old at the time. I reviewed the song and loved it so much it spent many weeks on my Top 30, and ended up on my Top 100 Songs of 2019. He followed up that October with “If Only”, an enchanting and trippy song with trap and Middle Eastern elements, and featuring vocals by Michael Lacroix.

Now Ben returns with his first EP Solent Side, a concept work of sorts with songs inspired by his having grown up by the seaside. The sea around the city of Portsmouth is called “the Solent”, and Ben told me “Solent Side is about the connection with where you grew up, where you feel you belong.” Once again, he collaborated with several vocalists and musicians on the songs. The EP was mixed and mastered by Philip Marsden.

The first track “Night Shift” features captivating vocals by Belfast artist Crash Helmet Kid, who also played guitar. Starting with a throbbing synth bass groove, Ben layers all sorts of delicate and spacey atmospheric synths and sound textures to create a beautiful otherworldly soundscape for Crash Helmet Kid’s angelic, ethereal vocals. I could listen to this bewitching track again and again.

Burning” is a marvelous piano-driven track that transitions back and forth between a languid, rather moody vibe and an exuberant head-bopping dance beat. Ben’s keyboards are wonderful, as is the guitar work by Ollie Lowres and Charlie Pereira. We also finally get to hear Ben sing here, and his vocals are terrific. The lyrics seem to be autobiographical, speaking to his own coming of age as a musician and wanting to explore the world beyond Portsmouth: “There are dreams in my head, I have visions. Dancing on the stage, people singing my songs. I lie awake at night, simply thinking. You lie there too, simply aching. And we’re burning. / There’s a wide, wide world waiting for you. So get yourself outside and go find it. And we’re burning.

Ben takes a pensive turn with “Fluoride“, a lovely track about growing up and learning to accept responsibility for one’s actions, particularly with regard to how we treat one another (at least that’s my interpretation of their meaning). The poignant lyrics are beautifully sung by English singer/songwriter Elisia Carter, who conveys a vulnerable sense of resignation about her friend’s immaturity, yet remaining hopeful that he will learn to value and respect her: “Rolling downtown in your white Mini Cooper / Playing around in a drunken stupor / You wonder what’s it like, life on the other side. / Fluoride, fluoride, can you light up the night? Can you call me by my name?” I love the song’s mellow hip hip beat, jangly strummed guitar, gentle vocal harmonies in the chorus, and the sounds of falling rain throughout that give the track a somber vibe.

The final track is a remix of Ben’s prior single “If Only“. The original version had a strong trap beat, highlighted by a simple but mesmerizing piano riff, accompanied by otherworldly synths. The remix is shorter, and has a slowed-down trip hop beat, with harsher, more industrial-sounding synths and ominous piano keys that give this version a darker feel. In the original version, Michael Lacroix repeated the lines “I wanna follow my dreams / If only you let me”, but in the remix his vocals are electronically altered to the point of being an unintelligible chant that nevertheless resonates with the listener.

Solent Side is a wonderful little EP that provides further evidence of Ben Priory’s impressive songwriting and production talents. He’s an imaginative guy, and I love that he not only explores a variety of music styles and sounds, but also collaborates with lots of musicians in the creation of his songs. I can’t wait to hear what he comes up with next.

Connect with Ben:  Facebook / Instagram
Stream/purchase his music:  Spotify / iTunesGoogle Play

Top 30 Songs for April 26-May 2, 2020

1. CAUTION – The Killers (6)
2. BLINDING LIGHTS – The Weeknd (1)
3. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (5)
4. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (2)
5. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (4)
6. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (3)
7. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (9)
8. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (7)
9. SHINE A LITTLE LIGHT – The Black Keys (11)
10. OH YEAH! – Green Day (12)
11. OVER AND OVER – Amongst Liars (13)
12. BAD DECISIONS – The Strokes (14)
13. YOUR LOVE (DÉJÀ VU) – Glass Animals (15)
14. DELETER – Grouplove (16)
15. HERO – Michael Kiwanuka (10)
16. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (8)
17. MARIA – Two Feet (18)
19. ME & YOU TOGETHER SONG – The 1975 (20)
20. LEMON DROP – Absofacto (24)
21. BEAUTIFUL FACES – Declan McKenna (23)
23. IF NOT FOR THE FIRE – The Million Reasons (25)
24. HELL N BACK – Bakar (26)
25. LEVEL OF CONCERN – twenty one pilots (N)
26. LONELINESS FOR LOVE – lovelytheband (28)
27. RUN – Joji (30)
28. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (21)
30. HALF YOUR AGE – Joywave (N)

Song of the Day Challenge – Day 10: ABSOFACTO – “Lemon Drop”

Song A Day Challenge

Today’s Song of the Day Challenge is “A song that’s been stuck in your head”, and my pick is the delightful “Lemon Drop” by Absofacto. I love the song, which is currently in the midst of a long run on my Weekly Top 30.

Absofacto is the solo project of singer/songwriter and musician Jonathan Visger. He’s been making music for over 15 years, first as a member of Michigan-based indie rock band Mason Proper, and later as a solo artist, and recently scored his first breakthrough hit with his captivating single “Dissolve”. A sleeper hit, the song was originally released in 2015, but went nowhere. In 2017, he signed with Atlantic Records and released his EP Thousand Peaces. “Dissolve” was included on the EP, then re-released as a single in 2018, but once again failed to gain traction, which is hard to believe as it’s such a great song.


In 2019, the song received renewed interest due to a meme on the music and video-sharing app TikTok, and became a surprise hit. It debuted on the Billboard Alternative chart in June 2019, and after a long, steady climb, reached #1 in January 2020. Absofacto followed up with the single “Rewind” in November 2019, then in March 2020, dropped “Lemon Drop”, along with another song “Python”.

On his Facebook account, Absofacto describes his music as “warped cloud odd dream beat / bubblejam / idyllicrunk / spacebass / twilight zoneout / wavewave“, which pretty well paints an accurate and colorful picture of his cool, synthpop sound. “Lemon Drop” is one of his best tracks, with a breezy, uptempo vibe and infectious dance beat. He uses lots of sweet and spacey synths to create a dreamy, atmospheric soundscape for his soft, breathy vocals. They have an ethereal, yet seductive quality that makes them utterly enchanting as he sings to a loved one of his ardor. It’s a fresh and modern take on the age-old subject of romance.

Blond camaro, gold leaf, yellow lemon drop
You’re my one and only, just the way you are
Wanna see the world from the front seat of your car
Tell me you ain’t far, tell me you ain’t far 

Follow Absofacto: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

New Song of the Week – BEATING HEARTS CLUB: “Black & White Love”

Beating Hearts Club

Beating Hearts Club is an indie folk-rock four-piece originally from the UK, and now based in Sydney, Australia. I learned about them when they reached out to me about their new single “Black & White Love“, and I’m glad they did, because I love their music. Comprising the band are Duncan Welsh (vocals/rhythm guitar), Ciaran Loughran (lead guitar/backing vocals), Peter Holt (drums) and Lukas Thurner (bass). Exactly one year ago, they released their beautiful debut single “Heroin”, an uplifting song about regaining hope through love. “Black & White Love”, which dropped today, April 24th, is the second single from their forthcoming album due out later this year, and I’ve chosen it as my New Song of the Week.

It starts off as a gentle ballad, with delicately strummed chiming guitars and somber but beautiful piano keys. The music gradually expands with the addition of subtle bass and just the right amount of drums, accompanied by some of the most achingly beautiful guitar work I’ve heard in a long while. Welsh’s plaintive vocals are lovely and heartfelt, and as the music builds to an anthemic crescendo in the final chorus, the guys’ soaring vocal harmonies are breathtaking, bringing chills to my body and a lump in my throat.

The moving lyrics continue to explore the theme expressed in “Heroin” – that finding true love in the right person can be a force for healing in our sometimes broken lives.

Bright eyes and pretty face
Will you meet me in the morning?
Since I have found my place
I can’t look back
I’m standing on the rocks where I’d once fallen
I sleep and call your name
Reach out, it’s you I’m holding
Since I have found my place
I’m on my feet I stare into your soul and I am home

Could you be the reason?
You know I need you
Seen my last chance die
But I’m still breathing
Do you feel what I’m feeling?
You know I need you
Shook me upside down
And I saw meaning

Your black & white love
My one adventurer
Well, when temptation comes
It’s clear to see that you’re the only one I’m thinking of

Could you be the reason?
You know I need you
Seen my last chance die
But I’m still breathing
Do you feel what I’m feeling?
You know I need you
Shook me upside down
And I saw meaning

Bright eyes and pretty face
Will you meet me in the morning?

“Black & White Love” is a real stunner of a track, and in my opinion one of the best songs of 2020 so far. It will surely make an appearance on my Weekly Top 30 soon!

Follow Beating Hearts Club: FacebookInstagram
Stream their music: SpotifySoundcloudApple Music
Purchase: Google PlayAmazon