Seven Fresh Songs #106
Bare Dreams — I Cannot Forget
Not every day we came across an indie-rock band from Israel and the more our curiosity was piqued with super cool pop-punk quartet Bare Dreams. They recently released the video for their new single “I Cannot Forget,” a taste from their upcoming album Joy due early 2022 via Ranch Records. The lyrical matter of “I Cannot Forget” draws from personal experiences by singer Itay Aviv when growing up but I think most of us can relate to it one way or the other nonetheless.
Bare Dreams say about their single and video:
“I Cannot Forget” encapsulates a significant part of Itay’s teenage years, mostly spent in therapy sessions, trying to cope with his depression and anxiety disorder. The track’s naked and emotional lyrics switch between Itay’s memories of those years to his ‘adult’ perspective of them as he perceives them now.
The Daniel JD Ben Baron-directed video follows Itay while having personal and group therapy sessions and visually supports the important context without taking away from the compelling music and its delivery! Listen to “I Cannot Forget,” our Song Pick of the Day, and check out the video too:
Vazum — Gallows
This is a time when the brightness and cheer of the winter holidays wane, and the new year greets you with a cold and dark January. Enter Detroit duo Vazum with their latest track “Gallows,” reminiscent of The Cure in their darkest era. The song also comes in an intriguing electronic version and a moody video directed by singer Emily Sturm.
Watch the video “Gallows,” our Song Pick of the Day here:
Honey Guide — Nom De Plume
Only four days into 2022, with the determination to do things differently and already somewhat failing, a gorgeous song like “Nom De Plume” couldn’t come more timely! The track was released last year in December already as part of Honey Guide’s stellar EP A Tidy Room Is A Tidy Mind. But the holidays and the included rush let us overlook gems like these. The soothing tranquility of “Nom De Plume” creates your very own little Spa time. Shut the door, close your eyes, and enjoy the invigorating gorgeousness of Honey Guide’s latest single.
Based in Leeds, Honey Guide, aka Jacob Andrews, says:
“Nom De Plume” is essentially about wishing to start again, with whatever it may be. I often find myself battling with the thought that I’d have done things a little differently, spent a little more time and patience on someone, spent a little more time doing something that would have been worth my while, wishing that I’d have planned a little better. I remember getting asked ‘If you could change the name of your project from Honey Guide to something else, would you?’. The answer is absolutely not. The name Honey Guide is my Nom De Plume (or pen name) for writing music, as I didn’t really like the idea of using my actual name. I kind of liked the idea of it sort of being an alter ego in a sense. Guiding anyone who listened to something sweeter.
A beautiful sentiment that also serves as a welcome reminder that we can change things any time of the year and don’t need a special date for it. Listen to “Nom De Plume,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Let’s Eat Grandma — Happy New Year
When we saw U.K. duo Let’s Eat Grandma for the first time at Iceland Airwaves 2016, the question in our minds was: where will Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, then just 16 years old, go from here? With abundant talent and creativity, the sky seemed to be the limit. But the challenges are rarely on the artistic side when you start that early, which is reflected in their new song, “Happy New Year.” Rosa recalls:
“I wrote ‘Happy New Year’ after a breakdown between us that lasted for a long period of time, to communicate to her how important she is to me and how our bond and care for each other goes much deeper than this difficult time. I used the setting of New Year as both an opportunity for reflection, looking back nostalgically through childhood memories that we shared, and to represent the beginning of a fresh chapter for us. I’d been struggling to come to terms with the fact that our relationship had changed, but as the song and time progresses I come to accept that it couldn’t stay the way it was when we were kids forever, and start to view it as a positive thing — because now we have been able to grow into our own individual selves.”
So it looks that they are good for now, and we can enjoy more of their bright, shimmering synth-pop going into 2022. “Two Ribbons,” their third album is coming out on April 18.
Listen to “Happy New Year” on your favorite streaming platform or watch the video “Happy New Year” here:
Slow Fiction — Niagara
Whenever I come across “Niagara” somewhere, my thoughts instantly wander to Niagara, the music venue and bar on the Lower East Side, whose North-facing wall once graced a cool Joe Strummer mural. Is it still there? I wouldn’t know because so much has changed over the last couple of years and not just caused by the pandemic.
Naturally, I was immediately intrigued when I learned about “The Cut / Niagara,” the debut double-single by New York’s indie-rockers Slow Fiction. Turns out, singer/songwriter and lyricist Julia Vassallo also refers to precisely that bar on the LES. While we might not have hung out together at the place throughout the years, our paths had nevertheless crossed in recent months, when New York slowly revived its live music scene again, because Slow Fiction have not missed an opportunity to make a splash in the re-awakened scene. They will also be among the hot new acts to watch out for at this year’s New Colossus Festival (March 9–13, 2022.)
During a time when many artists were (understandably) on a hiatus and often used that slow(er) period for some solitary creative output, that’s when Slow Fiction banded via Craigslist ads and mutual friends. Aside from frontwoman Julia, the band is comprised of guitarists Joseph Skimmons and Paul Knepple, Ryan Duffin on bass, and Jake Chouljian on drums.
As for the double single, I dig both songs equally but decided on “Niagara” as our #glamglarepick because see above. Besides, I love the shimmering guitars, the steady drums, and Julia’s flirty power vocals that turn an earthy indie piece into an instant rock classic. We wanted to know about the song’s story, reached out to Slow Fiction, and Julia says:
Originally this track was written with some bitter intentions but with the arrangement and energy that was built up with the band, was transformed into more of a sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek song. I appreciate that as we grow, the meaning behind our music can shift, and I think that is the beauty of making art. Also, Niagara is a bar in the East Village, a classic spot you should check out, very inspirational.
True that about Niagara, the bar, but also the song itself! Let’s come together on January 20th to Berlin (another fab venue on the LES, of course!) and experience Slow Fiction’s high energy and exuberant live show when they celebrate the release of their Live Session album out via Paper Moon Records.
Listen to “Niagara,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with Slow Fiction here.
Sea Change — Is There Anybody There
Living with loneliness and isolation is not limited to extreme situations like the one we are going through collectively right now. It can become a fact of life, no matter the circumstances. Ellen Sunde aka Sea Change follows this line of thought in her new song: “Is There Anybody There,” she asks over a chilling but ultimately hopeful-sounding production.
“Is There Anybody There” is the third single from her upcoming album “Mutual Dreaming,” out on February 11. Listen to our Song Pick of the Day on your favorite streaming service or below on SoundCloud:
FEZ — Black Dogs
FEZ are a highly intriguing new band based in London, East London to be precise. I loved their new double-single from the spot and decided to feature the more lively “Black Dogs.” However, this should not stop you form also listening to the more pensive “Counter Culture,” which can perhaps be seen as a bit of a summary of the band’s agenda. Yes, they do have an agenda which we’ll include here too. While “Black Dogs” enchants with a woozy melody, drenched in psychedelia and hard-strumming guitars, with a rad little guitar solo, its lyrical context goes deeper. The band says:
Lyrically “Black Dogs” is a criticism of the ease of access to antidepressant medication in the UK. Friends of ours who sought support from their GP for mental health difficulties were prescribed antidepressants without accompanying social or psychological support. Some said that the medication improved their mood slightly, others felt calmer in social situations, but the actual thoughts, behaviours or social circumstances that kept the problem going remained unchanged. We’re incredibly lucky to have access to mental health support, but unfortunately, underfunded services and long waiting lists can make it too easy to apply short-term solutions to complex problems.
This is unfortunately not just a British problem but an almost global dilemma. I’ve seen more and more artists picking up the topic in one way or the other. I believe that drug abuse and the shortcomings of us as a society can only be changed when we actively and often talk about it. Playing a brilliant song like “Black Dogs” on repeat sweetens the deal.
The band further says:
“We have an Agenda.
Since the explosion of Popular music there has always been a rocky symbiosis between the Art of creating music and the Business of getting it into people’s homes and onto their radios. When the dial shifts too far in either direction we end up with either unconstrained Art, with no thought of accessibility in sight, or hollow products, devoid of meaningful content. Arguably, the most influential albums of all time have played the game in conforming to Business’ constraints whilst also pushing the boundaries of their Art form creatively.
In recent years, however, the dial seems to have shifted too far in Business’ favour. In other words, the Industry has become so good at selling media to people that it no longer requires bold and progressive Art to turn a profit.
Frustration at the lack of creativity and ingenuity across all Art forms now populates daily discourse. How often have you heard frustration expressed at the number of remakes, reboots and remasters in the Film, Music and Video Game industries? How often have you heard discussion of the number of celebrity biographies and cookie cutter thrillers populating the literary charts? It is only natural that given the lack of Artistry represented in main stream culture that a pushback from Creatives is overdue.
The Musicians Call to Arms?
Our purpose is to be part of the movement that restores the equilibrium between Art and Business — to both strive ourselves and to encourage and support as many of our contemporaries as possible to push the boundaries of Music by making bold and radical Art that disregards current Industry trends. Only by moving Art forward can we all, together, hope to gain the attention of a cold, detached Business and shift current trends towards advancement and innovation over the retrospective stagnation which plagues our present culture. The DIY revolution is here.
I am excited to learn what FEZ will do next, and can’t wait to listen to more of their songs. For now, listen to “Black Dogs,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with FEZ here.