Soda Blonde – Small Talk: a journey of self-discovery, wrapped in 80s vibes

Photo: Ste Murray

Genre: Alt-Pop

Many know the feeling of a great and unexpected road trip at dusk. The time when the sky is slowly emerging into darkness, making sure to ascend into beautiful shades of dirty pink or purple beforehand. The air turns colder, time feels slower and the music gets louder inside the car. If you mix this all with only a little bit of longing, the outcome will be Small Talk, the debut album of the Dublin-based Soda Blonde which came out earlier this year, in July.

“Down that avenue
Through the lane that we go through
I can tell by the way that you lean
That you’re fine on your own now”

Faye O’Rourke, the lead singer of the band described the tracks on this record as somewhat a feeling of lingering around. In her words, the album is “about life in our 20’s. Every part of us is in here, both subliminally and literally. Lyrically, this record is like a collection of my flaws and insecurities. They’re lingering awkwardly by the bar at a crowded social gathering, waiting to integrate with the wider world” – she described it for Nialler9 back in March, before the release of Small Talk and I have to say, her words are in perfect alignment with the outcome. The way the lyrics, the sounding, and even the colors on the cover picture are able to radiate the feeling of nostalgia, but at the same time give us a clear message about a change waiting just around the corner is exceptional, and as a young woman in her 20s myself, I understand perfectly how she tried to capture all the bottled up emotions of someone who is ready to begin his or her life but is also deeply terrified of it, not to mention the highs and lows of making new connections and letting go of the ones which no longer serve us and help us become the best version of ourselves. Somewhat it is a journey of self-discovery too; scraping bits of ourselves and shaping them into one big feeling through the power of music.

“Afraid of everybody’s success I confess
Everyone’s dangerous to my ideas of myself
I was lookin’ for a feeling, validate me, shape me, hеal me with love
But from my family and friends and еven you my darling’s not enough”

Faye’s voice and the melodic composition take us back into the 80s in some ways, making it sound like that time where everything seemed simpler, yet it was also a time of transitioning into something different than what people were used to before. I’m not sure if the composition was precisely thought out like this, but it was definitely a good choice for the album to give such vibes (I mean… who wouldn’t want to have a random road trip at night in the middle of the 80s, right?). Nothing captures the feeling of standing in the hallway better, than waiting to be let inside as our society gets modernized day by day throughout the 80s. Small Talk is exactly this waiting time, the borderline between old and new, and the nerve-wracking overthinking of letting go and moving on. If we ever get another album, maybe we will finally be able to step into the challenges of adulthood and the hardships of growing up, but until then, let’s enjoy the bittersweet youth that Soda Blonde served us on a silver platter.

Listen to ‘Small Talk’ here


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From Slowthai to Carson Coma – What is it like to attend a festival in the middle of a pandemic?

As a devoted fan of concerts, festivals, and music in general, I, like many others, were devastated when the whole World went under lockdown last year. That meant that not only we couldn’t leave the house without a mask and had to minimize social interactions, but we had to say goodbye to all our beloved summer festivals too. Personally, it was especially hard to let go of Electric Castle, one of the most popular festivals held in Romania, because it would’ve been the perfect graduation gift to attend the concert of an amazing line-up after finishing my university studies, thus including Twenty One Pilots, Machine Gun Kelly, The Neighbourhood, Alec Benjamin or Foals. The waves of the pandemic covered everything in the blink of an eye and washed away all my hopes and dreams for the best festival experience I could’ve ever had. 

Thankfully, this year the organizers came up with the idea of Electric Castle Special, which was similar to the original festival, only shaped in such ways to align with the criteria of holding concerts in the middle of a pandemic, which meant that those who were vaccinated or did a PCR test before entering the festival, could fully enjoy live music this August. One part of the festival was held in Bontida, the other took place in Cluj and included multiple locations with various stages. I had the sheer luck of my workplace collaborating with the festival, and this is how I got in, free of charge (of course, with the Vaccination Certificate and the intention to work), and was able to attend two concerts I was looking forward to the most – Slowthai and Carson Coma.

Slowthai is a British rapper from Northampton, and I have to admit, I only discovered his existence maybe a month before the festival started, thanks to an ad on which you could hear Doorman, a song he made in collaboration with Mura Masa. His music is a combination of hip-hop, punk-rap, and grime, some containing his views on political issues regarding Great Britain, which lead to a little bit of controversy around his name. I went specifically for this one song (worth it, I still remember how an old man was dancing next to me and just vibing to his music, probably having zero clue about what the lyrics meant), but I ended up staying for the whole concert because he was not only a genius on the stage but also very inspirational in all he was saying. To be frank, he made his way into my heart pretty fast and I just loved how open and outspoken he was. I would definitely recommend giving his music a go if one is not afraid to hear some spicy manifestations here and there.

Now you see, Carson Coma is the other end of the spectrum when it comes to my taste in music. While Slowthai could be called bold, fearless, and vulgar, Carson Coma is just a bunch of guys who give you the silly and awkward “boy next door” vibes, they are like the epitome of what a bohemian is. I became a fan of this Hungarian band a year ago when they released their album called Lesz, ami lesz (What will be, will be) which gained a lot of popularity and not by accident! They are a fresh addition to the Hungarian musical palette, mostly thanks to how they are able to combine and cover multiple genres, from alternative rock to the beat music of the 60s, and the way their lyrics work so well with what they intend to communicate into the World (a little fun fact is that they sing in English too, and even have a song in Italian). 

The connection they have with each other and with their fans is insane, not to mention how purely talented and bright these guys are. Me and my friend who loves Carson Coma just as much as I do, couldn’t skip the opportunity to attend their concert. And we are so glad that we went! I can’t say there were many people there (If somehow any of the Carson Coma members ever stumble across this article, I have a message for you guys: Please don’t let this discourage you and come back to Cluj someday to play many more amazing shows! In fact, I know people who couldn’t attend the festival, but would’ve loved to be there.), but these guys had so much energy, put their heart and soul into the whole show, and were really humble and kind to the people who gathered to see them, as they came down to chat a bit and take some photos with the fans. It was such a great experience to see and hear them live in so many ways, and I am really grateful that I could be a part of it.

To conclude all, Electric Castle Special was an amazing experience, even if I couldn’t enjoy all the concerts held. My heart is still aching for the Aurora concert I had to skip because of work, but I believe that both Slowthai and Carson Coma did a great job fulfilling the “withdrawal symptoms” that last year caused in me with the canceled festival season. My advice for you is: don’t waste your youth by not attending festivals. It could change your life and get you out of your comfort zone in the best way possible! And yes, I know, the pandemic isn’t something that should be toyed with, but as the example above states, it is possible to have fun in a carefully checked and well-organized environment, if people decide to behave like decent human beings, and follow the rules required.

I hope that next year will bring back the original festival too, and we will be able to enjoy the live music experience further!

Earth Tones – Album Review

Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Ambient Pop In July, Michigan singer-songwriter Izzy Johnson released her meditative debut album Earth Tones. With any music that aspires towards contemplative meditation, it’s a fine balance between repetition and musical interest. While not always getting that balance just right, it is Izzy Johnson’s sincere performance that resulted in Earth Tones being included in NPR’s podcast All Songs Considered, as one of the Top 6 album releases on July 2nd.
Providing guidance on the album are comforting folk-inspired guitar melodies and what feel like translucent, heavenly vocals. Each song evolves at a gentle pace much like the passing of time in the still, snow-covered landscapes featured in her music videos. However, the downside of painting such an uncomplicated musical landscape is that songs begin to sound too similar. In this case, it means that the ‘Intro’, ‘Outro’ and ‘Opening’ tracks could largely be left out without anyone noticing they are absent. Its only when you distil the album down to its essence that you really discover the best of Johnson’s songwriting.
Amongst the top tracks on the album are the three singles ‘Existing’, ‘Loving’ and ‘Seeing’, which feature warm flute melodies alongside Johnson’s drifting, dream-like voice. On ‘Existing’ there is an unexpected shift to an upbeat groove that joyfully sparks interest; while it’s the smooth electric guitar and thick-like-honey reverb on ‘Loving’ that keeps you happily blissed out. These are the songs that I imagine feel right at home being played on a summer road trip. With near daily news of the planet’s dire situation, Earth Tones at its peak achieves beautiful moments of introspection to sooth the soul.
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NAHreally doesn’t care what you think

Genre: Hip-Hop

Brooklyn-based rapper NAHreally makes hip-hop to kick back to. Forget trap bangers. Forget sizzling hit-hats. Forget overproduced vocals. This is music to hang out to. Bust out your Bluetooth speakers in a park, and you’ll have heads bopping along to his silky smooth beats and hyper-relatable rhymes in no time.

On his latest project, Loose Around The Edges, what stands out is his attitude. The way he shrugs his shoulders in the general direction of his haters. Or maybe they’re versions of himself that he has left behind. That seems the only explanation for lines like: 

it’s a piece of cake to hate, it takes work to love,
and therein lies the rub,
that internalized lifestyle of living in a rush,
knee jerk jerks shirk the hard work and get worse

from Curmudegeon Emerge In Me

This is a lyricist who has taken time to build not only his ability on the mic, but also his perspectives on life. The mix of self-depreciation and honesty makes for rough-and-tumble bars that empower listeners to trust themselves and not be dragged down by what other people think. To my ears, he’s always finding new ways of repeating the oldest trick in the book, namely “you do you homie.” And it works because he does:

i try to keep my mouth shut,
people do stupid shit, so what?,
i might pull up with a bowl cut,
30 minutes late, but i showed up

from Bowl Cut

Those who listen for substance in hip-hop are always on the lookout for a sense of clairvoyance from their MCs. On standout track Civic, NAHreally hits us with truth. He takes a subtle dig at cancel culture by invoking R. Kelly’s failings, and our collective reaction to celebrities who commit crimes. Should you no longer listen to the remix to Ignition? Or is the real problem that you are letting the experience of experiencing music be tainted by the actions of the creator?

yo, i don’t need to be omniscient,
to know some of you still listen,
to the remix to Ignition, admit it

from Civic

i’ve been embellishing intelligence since,
elementary. essentially i’m just good at spelling,
dwelling on the past is not compelling,
don’t send me clips of people rapping on Ellen

from Don’t Send Me Clips of People Rapping On Ellen

So I jumped on a WhatsApp video call with him to see if we could get some insight into the man behind the music. Here is what happened.


To kick things off, tell us a little about yourself outside of music.

I’m from Massachusetts, and I’ve lived in New York City since 2015 (Brooklyn for most of that time). I live with my girlfriend and dog and spend most of my time finding new music to listen to or watching the Boston Celtics.

What attracted you to making hip-hop?

When I was 15 or 16, my friend put me on to a lot of 90s East Coast hip-hop—Wu-Tang, Big L, Das EFX. I couldn’t get enough and eventually we started recording some not great music (not totally awful though), but it stuck with me. I rapped on and off until I moved to New York and started going to open mics at Nuyorican Poets Cafe. The idea of trying to make music had never left my mind, so I had to give performing a shot. The response was positive and I met a lot of great people, so I kept going.

Tell us about your process. How do you go about writing your songs?

I try not to overthink it. I don’t edit lyrics too much, so I try to make sure I’m happy with a line before I move on to the next one. I want to make myself laugh while I’m writing—not because it’s funny per se, but just because that’s how I know I like a line. It’s a lofty name to invoke, but I’ve always loved this DOOM quote from his 2009 New Yorker with Ta-Nehisi Coates:

“When I’m doing a Doom record, I’m arranging it, I’m finding the voices. . . . All I have to do is listen to it and think, Oh shit, that will be funny. I write down whatever would be funny, and get as many ‘whatever would’ funnies in a row and find a way to make them all fit. There’s a certain science to it. In a relatively small period of time, you want it to be, That’s funny, that’s funny, that’s funny, that’s funny. I liken it to comedy standup.”

I try to do the same with beats. Once a loop makes me want to rap, I start writing to it. Sometimes I don’t even go back to change anything once I get writing. If I wanted to rap on it, the beat must have been finished.

I read you made your own beats for this latest project. Where did you get the samples?

It’s mostly mid to late ’60s and early ’70s jazz with a little Brazilian music from the same period in there. Really standard hip hop stuff but hopefully not anything others have used already. I find samples online—no vinyl at the moment because of COVID and space/time constraints. I wouldn’t rule out a switch to vinyl though. I made the beats for LATE in Logic with an SP404 for effects, but now I’m working more with an MPC1000 for my next tape, so the process is always changing.

What does the future hold for you?

Keep going. I’ve put out a tape every year since 2016. Hopefully I can keep that pace or increase it. I don’t have a business plan or any other type of plan other than keep working. I’ll continue to rap and make beats until I don’t want to anymore.

Lastly, if you had to have three records spinning in your grave what would they be?

Bill Evans – Explorations (need some jazz in my afterlife)

Sublime – Sublime (I need some punk and some chill rock, and I think this covers both bases. I may be biased because this one just hit its 25 year anniversary though)

MF DOOM – Mm..Food? (Tough call between this, 36 Chambers, and Madvillainy, but I think I want to go with the more whimsical album)

Thanks for taking the time to chat with Undies! Hoping to hear more from you soon. 


Two-Minds – Album Review

Genre: R&B, Classical Minimalist, Electronica
A lilting falsetto voice breathes, falters and soothes on Two-Minds, the beautifully considered new album by Sheep, Dog & Wolf. Each song is packed with organic textures – clarinets, saxophones, flutes, and horns – alongside a balanced use of electronic effects and samples. Considering the number of instruments in the mix, you might expect a complete line-up of band members. Incredibly, the album is weaved together at the sole hands of young Aotearoa New Zealand artist, Daniel McBride. This reveals how the theme of isolation core to Two-Minds directly mirrors McBride’s music-making process, giving an immediate sense of how deeply poignant this album is. Amongst restrained wails and softly croaked melodies, McBride sings lines like “Isolation is my home” as he wrestles with themes of mental illness.
The depth of McBride’s musical storytelling is evident in Two-Minds, particularly when he weaves together music and lyrics through use of metaphor. Take the opening track, ‘Months’. If the music was an engine, it would be that of an old car left unused and in disrepair for too long. The key turns and the engine hums to life before it quickly chokes out leaving you in silence. A second attempt is somewhat hopeful. In McBride’s case, breathy wind instruments play slow chords with a tired energy. There is a sense of fighting against a heavy inertia. The ensemble comes in and out, each time trying to gather momentum. The first words he sings? “Months out of time/I feel nothing but this pain and exhaustion”. The rest of the album follows in a similar effort to overcome inertia as McBride asks of himself, or the music, or perhaps anybody listening: “Give me something/I haven’t been me in a year”.
Released in April of 2021, Two-Minds comes a year after the pandemic took hold, landing at a time when ‘not feeling like yourself’ was a symptom many of McBride’s listeners likely shared. McBride tackles the ugly multi-headed beast that is depression, anxiety, and isolation with catchy rhythms and memorable melodies. With a touch of dark humor and a quick pace from the opening track, McBride asks: “Who would I even be/Without my anxiety?”. The approach to scoring these heavy emotions is clever and can often leave you caught off guard. Take, for example, the track ‘Fine’, where words “I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine…”are looped, growing from a faint background texture until it squeezes into the foreground. The realization of meaning is hard hitting as you consider the voice, echoing endlessly, is akin to the cycling nature of depression. The loop continues until the cycle finally falters and the rest of the song fades away.
On the track ‘Cyclical’, McBride sings “Stagnation/The screams come through the walls/I’m losing the day”. Despite these lyrics, the music never feels stagnant. Each song is a careful observation with McBride choosing to re-cast dark and deeply personal experiences as colorful jazz chords mixed with pop-sensibilities. The result is a highly relatable album that suggests mental illness could be more common than we think. It’s easy to assume that this was an album created during the pandemic when we were all feeling these emotions to some degree – disconnected, worn down, exhausted, and unable to get on with normal life. In reality, McBride completed this album four years earlier in 2017. This might owe to the reason why Two-Minds carries a great deal of authenticity; it draws on experiences that precede the current moment and will likely hold up for future listeners to come.
But it’s not all a foregone conclusion. In the album’s final track titled ‘Feeling’, a driving snare drum conjures an image of a beating heart while a rolling piano line gathers momentum. The music swells and with unbridled joy McBride sings: “Happiness as I find/I’m alive/and feeling”. Finally, we reach that high.
Necessary, real, and above all else, a pleasure to listen to, the pure honesty of Two-Minds is a much-needed album that captures our post-pandemic Zeitgeist.

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Step by step to reach the door that leads to the ultimate goal

Genre: Bedroom Pop/ Alternative R&B

I don’t know where I read this or who told it to me, but someone somewhere said that if you are just starting out and can’t secure blog reviews and interviews, just write about your own songs. Plain and simple. Write down your own take on things and have an article out there that people can easily access, after which they can make up their own mind. So here I am, after launching a blog to support other up-and-coming musicians, I am writing about my debut EP titled “Steps” because it came out today.

I have decided to release 4 songs as singles as well, because releasing more often is better for the Spotify algorithm, however today I will write about them in the order they are on the EP and not the order in which they were released. 

“Will you let me in?” is the first song, a tiny 1min15sec long intro tune that encompasses some of the main themes of all six tracks. It talks about the passing of time and the inability to stop it, leaving toxic people behind, walking away and working towards what is important, step by step until you get to the door that leads to your dreams. In my head, me beginning to release music and taking it more seriously during this past year and a half was a huge step for my career, and every single song got me closer and closer to this moment. While releasing this EP I am symbolically knocking on the door of the industry so to speak, because these are my most polished and important songs so far. I am knocking on the door and waiting to see when they will let me in. 

1 step 2 step 3 step 4

I'm standing right here, knocking on the door

Will you let me in?

I said

Will you let me in?

The next song is “Better on your worst nights” and it is about a relationship at its breaking point. The two parties don’t understand each other anymore but still don’t have the courage to take the first step in letting go. It has been going on for so long, how can it just end like that? The question is heartbreaking, but the only healthy choice is to walk away. After all, lately they only feel good when the other one doesn’t. This is my go to explanation when someone asks what is it about. I tend to write songs very visually, I already see a movie or a music video in my head in the writing session (I really hope I can film them sometime in the near future because I already have elaborate shot lists and everything lol) so it is sometimes hard for me to explain the entire world behind my songs in a couple of words, but I also believe that every track is up to the listener to interpret and a lot of the times I don’t even want to explain in too much detail what I was thinking about, just so each individual can project their own experiences onto them. 

I remember you were funnier

Back when the days were sunnier

These days all I do is sending warnings

Wind blew away our house of cards

And you didn't leave any marks

Don't be shocked when you won't find me in the morning

 “Always drunk” is based on a Charles Baudelaire writing titled Be Drunk. It tackles existential questions while suggesting that in order to get through the hardships of life, you have to be always drunk. The inability to cope in a healthy way with things that are out of our control is at the centre of this production. It’s sad, it’s desperate, the character can’t accept things even if they know that they can’t change the facts. (By the way, when I talk about characters, I mean the main characters who the songs are about or from whose perspective they are written). Anxiety is bad, especially when it is because of things that I can’t change. I know that it’s no use, but still, I can’t deal with it in a healthy way sometimes. Always drunk was written while some tears were shed, it initially wasn’t meant to be on this EP, wasn’t even written for this instrumental, but after hearing it I knew that they we’re meant to be together, so the melodies and lyrics were altered to fit the whole.

Everyone's talking but no one knows what about

The ones who are silent  at times tend to act out

The burden of time bends you down to the ground

Kneeling and screaming but I don't make a sound

The first song that I released as a single was Pills. Obviously the main single is the title song and I knew that from the start, but the first song I wrote for Jorge was Pills so naturally I decided to release it first as well. I loved it so much and it felt so current that I thought it would be the most successful one out of all. That didn’t happen (yet?), this shows that our perception of what people would like more is very different from reality. It tackles the attempt to take life day by day and live in the present, experiencing  every moment before they are gone, but restricted by pills that cloud the mind. Want to know what I was really thinking about with the lyrics? Okay I will tell you but you might be a bit surprised. I know that everyone else is thinking about more serious drugs, but I was writing it with lavender pills in mind. Yes, lavender pills. The first lockdown was a bit stressful next to the overall stress of having no idea what to do with my life (not going back to uni, no job, lockdown making it even harder to get a job etc…) so I was taking lavender pills to help me relax and even fall asleep. Because I couldn’t, no matter how much I worked during the day and how tired I was. 

So it was a small play on words, taking pills to fall asleep but adding the existential layer with “but I don’t want to go to sleep”, you know? Anyways, if it is about other drugs for you, it is fine.

Snippets of a life go by

We are so scared to say goodbye

Always running against time

“Are we?” is the most successful song so far. I released it as the third single and I am happy that people love it as much as I do. It is finally a happy song, haha! I don’t know if you noticed but I tried to order them in a way that suggests progress, an emotional one, so they go from angry and sad to happy by the end of the EP. This track captures the moment of a relationship coming to life, when the two parties become “official”. It is often because of the curiosity of a friend or family member that the question arises. Are we together or not? Not putting labels on the relationship is good enough for the couple, but the outside world’s curiosity leads them to confront the idea and clear it up.

I know that you know

You had me 'round your finger from the get go

And you know that I know

I'm somebody that you can not let go

And finally, we arrived to the title track that has an extra (1, 2, 3, 4) in the title.  The main characters live in the outskirts, every day just peeking in to get a glimpse of what might be waiting for them on the other side. Step by step they are working towards reaching the door that leads to their dreams, while helping each other in the process. It is a love song, it is a statement of the current place in my life, it is a personal manifesto. I love Steps. It was probably the most fun song to write. I was dancing and jumping around to the first demo that I recorded in only a couple of hours. I wrote it in one afternoon just the way it is and never changed anything after. An animated music video was made for it by the amazing Ben Balaton and it perfectly captures the story of the song. I loved working with Ben because he understood my ideas from the get go, even if some of my initial drawings were horrible, he could make it just the way I imagined it, and I thank him for the perfect final product that I will cherish forever. It is my first animated music video, are you kidding me?!?!?!

Hold me closer than before

I'm cold, you see stay forevermore

If only I knew what to ask for

Why am I feeling like I'm running out of time

Overall, I don’t know what to write in the ending paragraph because this was not a review, just some thoughts from behind the scenes. I don’t want to leave you with a conclusion. I hope you will listen and will draw your own. Million thanks to Jorge Arenas who is one of the most talented musicians I know for producing, mixing and mastering these songs.

Stream Steps here:


Puzzls on social media:

I will only review the album covers because they were made by the one and only Rue Atelier and they are literally perfect, nothing else to add here:

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Billie Eilish is happier than ever

Genre: Pop/ Electro pop

Billie Eilish needs no introduction but in case you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of years, she managed to win the hearts of millions of people all around the world as well as 10 Grammys next to other awards. Other people are just starting to figure out what to do with their lives and here she is, at 19 releasing her second studio album which contains 16 tracks.

Track 4 and 14 have been out for a while now, but style and theme wise it makes sense that they are on the album. Three other songs, respectively “Your Power”, “Lost Cause” and “NDA” have also been released prior to the album, giving people a little sneak peak about what to expect. They all have music videos that correspond to the by now well known Billie aesthetic. “Not My Responsibility”, the spoken words from the  2020 short film also made it on the album.

For some reason she has been getting some hate lately in the online sphere both because of the sound of the songs and accusation of queerbaiting… and other things, but this is a review about the album and not about what cancel culture has a problem with currently, so the discussion will not take these outside accusations into consideration, mainly because there is no way of choosing a side from the outside. 

Soft, dreamy vocals overtake the entire 56 minutes and 15 seconds, while the journey begins with “Getting Older”. The production is very simple, offering space for the vocals to overtake the whole… and I have a feeling that this will be a general occurrence over the course of the entire album. The song is written from a very vulnerable place by a young artist who in the eyes of the outside world has a perfect life but has gone through trauma in secret and is dealing with it on her own, promising that everything will be fine. Growing up while the entire world is watching  is a peculiar thing. The song has a bittersweet feel to it, confessing a certain sadness but is also very hopeful.

"I've had some trauma, did things I didn't wanna
Was too afraid to tell ya, but now, I think it's time"

Finneas, her producer brother, is known for constantly recording random sounds and using them in his productions, so “I Didn’t Change My Number” is no different. It begins with what sounds like a dog growl, suggesting a switch from the vulnerable to something more aggressive. A past relationship takes the center stage in this production where the beat mirrors the lyrics perfectly and creates an unnerving atmosphere. Distancing herself from a person who seems to not be over her is the plot here, it is passively angry and sometimes even threatening. Why did I say passively? Because it is from the perspective of a person who is angry and deserves to be, but can reflect on the situation with maturity. 

"Maybe you should leave
Before I get too mean
And take it out on you
And your best friend too"

“Billie Bossa Nova” is the third track and again changes the mood. Bossa nova is a Brazilian popular music that evolved from merging samba with jazz and blues. It is smooth and rhythmic, maybe even nostalgic, and the dance requires subtle body movements. The title already suggests the genre of the song and the content is lighthearted, about a love story while on tour and being constantly followed by paparazzi. Finneas declared in an interview with Rolling Stones that there are a lot of things they have to do to avoid getting followed to their rooms by the photographers so they wanted to write about these experiences but spiced it up with a mystery love affair. 

"It might be more of an obsession
You really make a strong impression
Nobody saw me in the lobby
Nobody saw me in your arms"

“my future” has been out for a while and discussed already, so we are going to jump right into track 5. Oxytocin is a hormone and a neurotransmitter that is involved in childbirth and breast-feeding. It is also associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building. It is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” because levels of oxytocin increase during hugging and orgasm, according to Medical news today. It is also the title of the song that begins with a faster beat. This one is definitely on the crazier side, both the beat and the composition are peculiar but make you want to jump up and sing along to it. A dependent relationship is what drives this tune, with very clear sexual associations and suggestions. Someone on Genius wrote that this one will be very fun live, and I can not help but agree. 

"If you only pray on Sunday
Could you come my way on Monday?
'Cause I like to do things God doesn't approve of if she saw us"

“GOLDWING” is the shortest song on the album and the beginning sounds like a church choir singing a religious hymn or gospel. Perfectly soft vocals layered on top of each other lift you up and make you feel like you are in heaven. It is kind of ironic that this song comes right after “Oxytocin”, in which she performs actions that “God doesn’t approve of”, maybe like a form of atonement or purification. I got to admit, I think this my favourite off the album so far, the way the introduction makes you feel, the way the entire atmosphere changes after the first minute and the beat comes in, the lyrics… “GOLDWING” is definitely something else. 

"Goldwing angel
Go home, don't tell
Anyone what you are
You're sacred and they're starved
And their art is gettin' dark
And there you are to tear apart"

Another interesting placement is “Lost cause”, which already came out prior to the album so there not much more to say about it, but vocally it is definitely one of her most captivating creations. 

By now it is becoming clear that in the shaping of this album, alternating upbeat and downtempo songs was also taken into consideration, and as expected “Halley’s Comet” is another mellow production. This beautifully crafted love song is filled with vulnerability and strong emotions. As suggested earlier, I am a sucker for good instrumental breaks and changes inside one track so this one is also on my list of favourites.

Halley's Comet
Comes around more than I do
But you're all it takes for me to break a promise
Silly me to fall in love with you

“Not My Responsibility” is the spoken word video interlude Billie released in early 2020 and discusses the objectification of women in the entertainment industry based on their body image. But not just the entertainment industry, really, women all around the world are objectified every single day and their worth is decided by strangers solely based on looks. 

“OverHeated” is the first song after the interlude, and mind you, the transition is perfect. It seems to further go into the theme of “Not My Responsibility”.  It was probably inspired by some paparazzi pictures that went viral because they showed her wearing clothes that were not baggy, “finally” letting the world know how her body looks like, giving it up for discussion, as if that was the most important thing about a young talented woman. 

And everybody said it was a let down
I was only built like everybody else now
But I didn't get a surgery to help out
'Cause I'm not about to redesign myself now, am I?

“Everybody Dies” tackles an existential question that I’m sure everyone has struggled with in their lives. Fear of death and the unknown is what drives this song, but even if the theme is sad, Billie is comforting and tells people that they are not alone no matter what.

"You oughta know
That even when it's time, you might not wanna go
But it's okay to cry and it's alright to fall
But you are not alone"

The next three songs have been out and discussed multiple times to I will not spend too much time on them, but I did want to mention “NDA” which was peculiar at first listen and did get some nasty comments online, however I think it is the type of song that you get used to only after  hearing it several times and then you get obsessed. I have to admit I did not like it at the beginning but now I love it. And the video as well, Billie has a great sense of artistic mastery.

And now… number 15, we got to the title track.  The vocal melody has an old air to it at the beginning and only becomes contemporary with Verse 2. I believe this will make the song timeless.  Now that I listened to this one, I have to say that it overtakes “GOLDWING” on the favourites list. It is obvious why they chose it as the title track and in my opinion it is the best track on the album. The most complex production, composition, build-up, style change… it is really really good. A very problematic relationship is described that makes her angry, in the first part we don’t get to know the underlying problems but after the style changes the song becomes angry and describes many things that he did wrong.

You ruined everything good
Always said you were misunderstood
Made all my moments your own
Just fuckin' leave me alone

“Male Fantasy” is a beautiful way to end the album. A recent heartbreak and the line between fantasy love and real life is what drives this song. Incredibly beautiful harmonies and melodies describe the situation.

Home alone, tryin’ not to eat
Distract myself with pornography
I hate the way she looks at me
I can’t stand the dialogue, she would never be
That satisfied, it’s a male fantasy
I’m goin’ back to therapy

A YouTube comment I read under the lyrics video really encompasses the general feeling of this album: “We saw Billie as a teenager with her previous album and now we get to see her as a woman”. No song feels like it’s just there to fill up the space, each and every track has it’s special place for the narrative, each and every track is necessary. Overall this album did not disappoint, on the contrary, it showed a different, evolved side of Billie and it really makes you wonder what other things the future holds for this talented soul.


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If you haven’t heard Your Psyche Is Showing from Generous Gods yet, what are you doing?

Genre: Psychedelic rock

Generous Gods, a band you will instantly fall in love with just released their new digital 45! It is perfect for lovers of psychedelic music and also for people who just started getting into the genre! I was fortunate enough to hear from them personally so you can too. Firstly, you can read an interview and then a review of the songs.
Get your loudest speakers because even your neighbours will want to hear the whole thing! Let’s get into it!

How would you describe your band?
Hi, nice to be speaking with you today! We’re a bring-your-band-home-to-mother type of group if your mother lived in Haight-Ashbury in 1967, nearly named you Saffron, regularly protests human rights, and enjoys vacationing in Santa Fe while wearing obnoxiously large turquoise jewelry. Generous Gods is a revolving cast of characters each adding their personality, ethos, and life experience to the music thus creating our little slice of southern-psychedelic heaven all right here in the warm sunshine of Atlanta, GA. 
What are your ultimate goals with your music?
We got no goals, aside from relentless expression, defeating oppression, renouncing possession, defying suppression, and offering the occasional suggestion. We’re careful to be mindful of that last one though. Being on The Ed Sullivan Show would’ve been a thrill or hanging out with Nico at The Dom in the East Village would’ve been cool, but I think we missed our chance. 
Were there any bands or performers who really inspired you? If so, who are they? 
Stax Records, The Animals, The Golden Dawn, Love, Nina Simone (her Pirate Jenny from ’64 is mind shattering), David Bowie, The Stones, 13th Floor Elevators, Jean Knight, The Troggs… Lots of novelists and poets and entertainers and scientists that we admire and respect outside of music as well. We would read an astrophysics book before most music biographies any day – they tend to reach farther than music biographies allow for. We did enjoy Keith Richards’ autobiography, ‘Life’ though. Confessional and went deeper than skin. Open G does funny things to a person’s mind. 
What would you like your music to mean to people?
Well, we don’t really know – that’s a hard thought to hold in your head. We hope it’s something to them, that’s better than nothing, but what that is, we won’t understand it or even care to really. Music is subjective and it’s appreciation can be terribly dynamic. Certainly is for us ha. Music maybe doesn’t mean any particular thing to you, but it’s rather a timestamp or indicator of what you were going through at that point and that’s where the meaning is derived. Socrates probably said that. 
What inspired you to start making music of your own?
Well, music has been a creative pathway for us for some time now. It’s an idiosyncratic endeavor, music. You want to be there when it works and it’s hard to run from when it doesn’t – we often find ourselves in both instances. We’re from Georgia and there is a staggeringly rich musical history here: Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, The Spontaneous Generation, Ma Rainey for god’s sake.. it’s mystifying. It’s in the live oak forests, the Chattahoochee River, the streets of Atlanta, and the coastal waters off St. Simons Island. Hard not to be inspired.
Is there anything you’d like to add? Maybe a message for the readers?
Generous Gods loves it’s listeners, money is fake, aliens are real, your ego will betray you every chance it can, fall in love with a person who loves to read, everyone should have to work in the service industry at some point, ‘The Big Lebowski’ is the apogee of American cinema, Jupiter’s moon Europa, likely has giant sea creatures living in it’s 100 mile deep ocean, and you should listen to our music through the prism that we’re blissfully out of step with modern music and that’s ok with us. Thanks for having us! Be well, Hedi – peace and love!!!

Well aren’t they just so kind? I don’t know about you but their answers made me want to hang out with them and their obnoxiously big turquoise jewelry wearing mothers. They create a unique atmosphere. And this shows on their music too! If you haven’t heard their two new songs yet, here’s a link so you don’t have to look it up.

Let’s talk a bit about the first song, Snake Oil! The melody will surely have you dancing in your living room. From the first second, this track sounds very catchy and indeed it is! The refrain is very memorable, it will be stuck in your head and I’m sure you won’t mind. At about one and a half minutes there is a short guitar solo which blends into the song well and is very melodic.

The next and last song is very tuneful. A part of the lyrics just before the refrain can be heard a couple times, this really makes you fantasise about screaming ‘Just lean in closer, I’ll tell you what was left unsaid!’ at a concert with your friends. I promise you don’t need a drop of alcohol to have a good time while listening to this masterpiece. In the beginning of the song we can hear a melody that could have been played on a sitar, it carries through the song and compliments the guitar’s theme. The vocals in the refrain create a harmony that is very nice to hear.

To sum up, Generous Gods really created something that will be stuck in your head and make you dance. Their new digital 45, Your Psyche Is Showing is -i promise you- worth listening to.

You can listen to Your Psyche Is Showing here:


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Clairo – Sling review: sweet tunes with a pinch of heartache

Genre: Indie-Pop-Folk / Soft Rock

Clairo’s brand new album couldn’t have had a more fitting title. Just as a sling that holds up hanging weights, the singer’s new EP carries within itself a thousand feelings while trying to get a grip of longing for someone or something missed or not yet found, attached to the context of domesticity, caring for yourself and for other beings. The songs are an epitome of self-awareness, a journey of awakening with bits of melancholy, loneliness, regrets, spoken and unspoken words, but also freedom and a search for closure and acceptance. 

The softness of this album is not only reflected in its melodies, but also in the short, delicate titles and the simplicity of the cover. The composition was undeniably handled with care and patience, outthought, and cleverly put together. Listening to it gives you the feeling of standing in the middle of a field on a summer day, enjoying the breeze, thinking about all the struggles and hardships of life in the calmest way possible.

As a lyricist, Clairo is impeccable. She is able to express her thoughts and feelings in such beautiful and special ways, using  words that make it hard not to be mesmerised. One of her lyrics that captured me for example is from the track called ‘Partridge’: Comfortable, unmotivated always/ Seeking other stories, other memories/ I’m sorry I have to hold you longer than you expected/ It’s only temporary. 

However, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something is lacking within this new album, and that would be what I’d call the element of surprise. Most of the songs feel a bit plain and alike when it comes to the sounding, it’s hard to distinguish them from one another, like they are carrying the same tunes over and over again, which is fine as they capture the atmosphere of the artist’s volition perfectly, yet it could’ve been more relatable with just a little bit of spice added to them. 

All in all, the album is worth a shot if you’re craving for something simple yet meaningful, with sweet tunes and a pinch of heartache.

Listen to ‘Sling’ here:


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Samsara Blues Experiment’s latest album is a bittersweet end

Genre: Stoner rock/Psychedelic blues/Indian raga

The German trio announced that they are putting their music career on hold in order to take a break or even stop working together. Before doing so, however, Samsara Blues Experiment came out with an EP that will launch you into another galaxy and take that ride with you. 

When I came across End Of Forever the first thing that caught my eye was the artwork on the cover done by Jessica Rassi. Let’s take a look inside too!

The first song, Second Birth, is the longest track on the whole EP. Right from the start you could imagine travelling by a spaceship or looking at the galaxy form a whole new point of view. The guitars and drums create a nice atmosphere, which is deepened by the keyboards. In the fifth minute and part of the sixth minute of this masterpiece, you can notice some Pink Floyd vibes, which aren’t at all surprising since Pink Floyd was and will always be one of the biggest influences on the neo-psychedelic genre. The second half of this song becomes much more definite, it’s like the track is slowly forming and taking a more solid form. It is not as atmospheric anymore, it travels through air and fills your head. The bass is absolutely worth paying attention to.

The second track, Massive Passive is a much faster one and the vocals play a bigger part in it. It starts off small and soft and with time this too grows to be an absolute masterpiece. The lyrics suggest that this is nothing less than a love song of some sort. The main idea is this: our world became a cruel, one you cannot change, in the past you had security and people to turn to despite the fact that everybody around you seemed crazy, but now technology came between people and healthy relationships, even with yourself. Depressing, isn’t it? If not else, this song will absolutely remind you to do a social media detox if possible.

“And when I was scared I knew I still had you, I had you to turn to while everyone around us had gone insane.”

Well let’s cheer up a bit, in the EP’s middle you can find a track that will bring hope to the melancholy of the last song. Southern Sunset is -no doubt- a love song. Featuring elements of nature, the lyrics paints a moving picture of a woman and a relationship. Not letting the previous song sadden you, it states that you can disconnect from reality and create your own world without insecurities and worries, so let’s do just that while listening to Peter’s vocals!

The next song is also the title of the EP. This track is a less positive one, discussing the popular psychedelic rock topic of realities and dreams. At about the three and a half minute mark, a very interesting lineup of instruments starts building on each other. The guitar solo is nothing less than immaculate.

Orchid Annie on the other hand, is a slower and somewhat more positive track. When reading the lyrics, a feeling of bittersweetness rises and stays till the end of the song. At about 3 minutes nearly every instrument used plays a different melody creating an outstanding composition. At 4:35 there is a change of pace and melody out of nowhere, which makes you think and slowly makes its way to your soul. It becomes faster and more desperate by the minute. There are solos in this song but my descriptions really could not do justice to them, please listen to the whole thing as this is, in my opinion, one of the more intricate songs of Samsara Blues Experiment.

Orchid Annie is technically the last song on the EP but there is one more bonus track, Jumbo Mumbo Jumbo. A cathartic instrumental jamming which will indeed be stuck in your head for the rest of the week. It is less of a wishful goodbye, like Orchid Annie, but it is undoubtedly a worthy end. The melody of End Of Forever comes back for another appearance.

Samsara Blues Experiment most likely knew that this was going to be their last album for a while so personally I take this track as a goodbye they played with full force.

In conclusion, End Of Forever is an emotional roller-coaster that is absolutely worth taking. Samsara Blues Experiment will be missed but the music they have given to us will make up for their absence.

Listen to End Of Forever here:



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