Julia Jacklin Feels The Pressure To Party

I may have been a little late to the Julia Jacklin party, but the video/track that first got me really hooked was “Body,” which she dropped a few months back. Now she’s got another an equally contagious single in the form of “Pressure To Party,” but this one is far more of a stomper of a hit. It’s a fairly straightforward indie pop track about post-break-up stress from the people around you, but Jacklin’s vocals really punch forward on the gas and you’re swept up in the downright power / vocals pushed to the brink. This comes through especially at the track’s end when she’s belting “I know I’ve locked myself in my room, but I’ll open up the door and try to love again soon.” It’s a fun track to ramble along with, and shows off the flip side of Jacklin from the softer “Body.” These tracks come off of Jacklin’s newly announced LP, Crushing, which is due out next month on Feb 22 via Polyvinyl. I’m stoked to see what she’s got in store for us, pre-order your copy here.

 

Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow


Rating: ★★★½ ·

Of all the solo-powerhouses in the indie rock / folk world, few have resonated with me quite as much as the work of Sharon Van Etten. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite familiar with her story: small time broody indie-nobody quietly releases album after album of her own unique brand of raw and powerful music that sits well with fans of The National, Bon Iver, Beirut. Oddly enough, these incredible records like 2014’sAre We There,and 2012’s Trampfailed to push Van Etten into the main fray of the indie world. Cut to 2019: she’s on billboards in NYC, playing Jimmy Kimmel, and pretty much every music publication under the face of the sun is talking about Sharon.

The first thing I noticed at her ACL Festival performance back in October, at which she played a few of the tracks from her new record, is that the guitar was missing. While these tracks–what I came to find out would be the singles for this release–came with a hard bite, the meat of most of the songs were heavy synths played by the inimitable Heather Woods Broderick. We got a bit of a taste of this direction onAre We There,though it was always countered with guitar, be it acoustic or electric. Singles “Comeback Kid,” “Jupiter 4,” and “Seventeen,” as they were released all confirmed this synthy-almost-pop approach, but Van Etten’s sulky vocals kept them grounded in her classic style. On “Comeback Kid,” we have big drums, wailing synths, and Van Etten’s voice as commanding as we’ve ever seen it. “Seventeen” sees her downright screaming, whereas “Jupiter 4” seemingly brings us back to the kind of track we’ve come to expect from Van Etten.

Each of these songs, and the whole record for the most part is a look back on past. This perspective shines brightest in the leaps SVE takes on “Jupiter 4” and “You Shadow.” The former is seeping with desperation and longing to be loved and the insane anticipation of stumbling into something good: “It’s true, that everyone would like to have met / a love so real.” The track a gorgeous love song–though it’s heavy in atmospheric synth, you get a little bit of guitar cutting in, but Van Etten’s vocals take the center. This song is a leap: like most SVE tracks, it’s rooted in this slow pace that seems ominous, but the lyrics are some of the most heart-warming we’ve ever heard from her. She confesses this love continues to move her now: “Turning the wheel on my street / my heart still skips a beat.” This song is a sincere and steadfast confession of being moved by the power of loving someone else, which is a feat to accomplish without sounding corny or trite.

“You Shadow” comes later on and takes the approach of a sing-song-y taunt you’d expect to hear in an argument between teenagers; it’s actually probably the most ‘pop’ track we’ve ever heard from SVE and it’s infectious. Though simple, the song’s melody gets wedged in to your head. The crunchy sounds are juxtaposed well by lighter, bouncy keys. The whole number has this laid back groove to it, but the casualness of the beat and the smooth delivery from Van Etten is contrasted highly in the bridge, where we get the sweeping power vocals once more. It’s a weird combination, but the result doubles down on the strength of the words Van Etten jeers: “You ain’t nothing / You never won.” One moment she’s telling us a story from the perspective of someone emotionally removed, bitter. Next in the bridge, she’s right back in the moment, spilling with emotions and raw anger.

SVE made a lot of bold sonic changes onRemind Me Tomorrow and the two tracks I described were examples of these choices paying off in a big way, but the rest of the album doesn’t always offer that same kind of payoff. I find myself not quite connecting with every song as I’d like to, and as I have in the past. Don’t get me wrong, in the end,Remind MeTomorrowis a good record, but it pales in comparison to her past two albums both in songwriting strength, and in musicality. Sharon Van Etten is immensely talented and well-deserving of the moment she’s having, but this record feels less vulnerable, which is what I’ve always found to be a ridiculously compelling factor (if not the most compelling factor) of her music. Oddly enough, though the sound is bigger than she’s ever done before, Van Etten is emotionally guarded behind those buzzing synths.

Perhaps with revisited listening the guard will come down, Remind Me (to listen again) Tomorrow.

 

 

 

Jonathan Wilson Shares Lovely Video For “Me”

Jonathan Wilson shared a new video for his track, “Me,” yesterday and announced a string of tour dates in support of his most recent release, Rare Birds, which came out on Bella Union not too long ago. The track is a soft rock gem, but a deeply contemplative one at that–Wilson thinks over his place in the universe while also lamenting overthinking about himself. He finds himself in dirt holes and then staring into the sun, while the track starts to really take off. About three minutes in, you get this break from the build and everything explodes. Even the video switches from bleak shots to psychedelic, animated visuals. I’m shocked I missed out talking about this record before it was released, but better late than never, right? You can pick up your copy here.

 

Folksy Perfection From Golden Daze

We’ve been fans of the psych-folk-pop of Golden Daze for a few years now, so I’m stoked to hear/see that they’ve announced a new LP and shared the beautiful “Blue Bell” with us. This go round, it seems that the duo of Ben Schwab and Jacob Loeb have toned down the psych a bit and explored the quiet folk route. There’s this utter wistfulness/nostalgic quality to this song and the video; the two gentlemen of the group sit a-la Simon & Garfunkel with their guitars, their voices just barely whispers. The song builds layer on layer to its end and I’m completely smitten with hearing the track grow. Warning, “Blue Bell” may cause repeated listening.

Golden Daze will release their new LP, Simpatico,on Autumn Tone on February 15 of next year.

Eerie Wanda Blesses You With “Moon”

Eerie Wanda, out of Amsterdam, has a new video for you that’s a lovely treat for this Friday. “Moon” is a gauzy dream, with Marina Tadic’s vocals leading you through the fog and holding your attention for its duration. It’s quite a delicate tune; acoustic guitar subtle synth sounds, and rich vocals are all it takes to ensnare you, and then a drum machine picks up the pace a bit. The song has a bit of a spell-like quality to it. When it’s done, you’re a little confounded and it’s kind of hard to go back to the real world. Spend some time dreaming with this video below.

 

 

Sleepy And Lovely Track From Living Hour

I guess the theme for today’s tracks is lush and dreamy, and it’s safe to say I’m not complaining a bit. This one, from Living Hour, who hail from Winnipeg, is a lovely slice of shoe gaze magic. Group vocals make this one shine bright, while the sleepy guitars and slow-mo percussion let the track ooze out. The honeyed sound feels kind of sunlight reflecting on water, or at least that’s all I can think about as I watch this video from the group. Take a listen and let yourself zone out for a few minutes. It’s Friday, you deserve it.

 

Tiny Ruins Share a Slow-Burning Hit

You ever hear a song and it just feels like it belongs in a really well shot film? Like everything about it screams montage? That’s the feeling I got the first time I pressed play on this gem from Tiny Ruins. The New Zealand group is well on their way to releasing their upcoming third LP, Olympic Girls, and “School of Design” is their latest lush single. I think the cinematic feel comes Hollie Fullbrook’s velvet vocals and detailed storytelling. Apparently the track was recorded live–which makes this track even more haunting, as it feels so very polished and perfect. Take a listen for yourself below.

 

Elliott Smith-Esque Gem From Angelo De Augustine

Oh man, do I love a good quiet melancholic bedroom pop track. Maybe it’s the cold snap we’ve had here in Austin that draws me in so deeply to “Tomb,” but most likely it’s the fact that Angelo De Augustine just knows how to craft a solid tune. While I’ve been a longtime fan, he’s made a big wave in the indie rock world as of late for sharing a live version of his tune, “Time” with Sufjan Stevens’ help on piano. That’s a gorgeous tune, but it seems like he’s really outdone himself with this video for “Tomb,” as you can peek below. Augustine has these impossibly beautiful vocals that float in with a falsetto whisper. Couple that with brilliant songwriting (“You’ve been living your life from the outside / like a stranger inside of your own mind”) and you get the devastating, Elliott-Smith reminiscent, “Tomb.” Safe to say I’m very excited for the full-length this track is taken from. Pre-orderTombbefore its January 18th release date on Asthmatic Kitty.

 

Don’t Sleep On Mk.gee

I’m a few days late to the party on this one, but that doesn’t mean you should be like me and miss this lovely track from Mk.gee. It’s a pretty low-key one, but totally fits the gentle vibe that seems to be hitting the spot for me with the fall. Mk.gee is the moniker for Michael Gordon, who is making delicate tunes that sound like they’re coming to you from the bottom of a lagoon. Echoey instrumentation and vocals kind of waft your way in waves on “New Year,” as he ruminates on the passing of time and that hollow feeling that comes with ringing in another year. This track is from Mk.gee’s new EP, which will be out this Friday, 11/16.

 

And The Kids Have A Winner For You

This track may already be Cool Music Blog certified, but I like it, so I’m going to share it with you anyways, dear reader. And The Kids sure have a hit on their hands, and I expect this isn’t the last you’ll hear from this crew of Massachusetts indie rockers. “Champagne Ladies,” harnesses the energy of frustrations not into apathy, but something quite catchy. With a chorus of “Life is a bastard/Life wants to kill you/don’t get old,” you’ll be remiss not to sing along. Personally, what really tipped the scales for this one for me was the sick electric guitar riff that hits around the 2:30 mark. Not to mention, this crew has put together a solid video that is both quirky and earnest, with front person Hannah Mohan belting their heart out with a fierce and steady glare directly at you. And The Kids just announced their debut LP,When This Life Is Over, which will be out Feb. 22.

 

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