Seven Fresh Songs #109
Sister Gemini — Elvira
Sister Gemini is an L.A.-based singer/songwriter who is about to release a series of songs this year. The new 22-year old started songwriting in high school in Michigan, but the songwriting craft of her debut single “Elvira” certainly elevates the track above your typical bedroom production. Catchy and with sparkling energy, it is a song you want to hear over and over again.
Sister Gemini says about the song:
“I had such a soft spot for my ex that I assisted him in doing what he did to me. This song was born out of guilt.”
Listen to “Elvira,” our Song Pick of the Day on your favorite streaming service or below on SoundCloud:
Nilüfer Yanya — midnight sun
With an intro that evokes Radiohead, “midnight sun” has my attention from the start. Additionally, a feeling of love and utter joy sets in once Nilüfer Yanya starts singing. How could I have missed out on this London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist until now? After all, the daughter of two visual artists, an Irish-Barbadian mother, and a Turkish-born father, has an impressive body of work already. Her 2019 debut album Miss Universe, the 2021 follow-up Inside Out, and the upcoming album Painless, on March 4, via ATO Records.
Yanya says about the album:
It’s a record about emotion. I think it’s more open about that in a way that Miss Universe wasn’t because there’s so many cloaks and sleeves with the concept I built around it. I’m not as scared to admit my feelings.
It took “midnight sun” to happily join Nilüfer Yanya’s growing fanbase because this is music that’s not only well-made catchy indie-rock but made with heart and purpose. Yana says about “midnight sun:”
It’s a song about recognising what it feels like to be pushed down but wanting to resist. I really like the imagery of “midnight sun” as a lyric as it insinuates a light guiding you through darkness. The wings carry their own symbolism — freedom, lightness, flight, fantasy… If I could pick what people saw and heard it would be: seeing the beauty of confrontation and the necessity of rebellion.
We’re looking forward to March, and are for now enjoying “midnight sun,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with Nilüfer Yanya here.
Primer — Just A Clown
Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Alyssa Midcalf aka Primer feels like “Just A Clown.” She describes a serious attack of the impostor syndrome that often comes along when you try to do something out of the ordinary. But setting this sentiment to swirling, bright synth-pop helps keep an inner nay-sayer in check.
Alyssa describes the situation here:
“I was going through a point where I felt like I was constantly making a fool of myself. I was trying hard to gain acceptance from people. I felt silly. When you’re an artist or want to attempt anything ambitious in this world, it usually comes down to, who do you know? Who are you?”
pecq — Too Far Gone
With their new single “Too Far Gone” and the accompanying video, Oxford-based duo pecq offer another piece of utterly fascinating art. “Too Far Gone” is hypnotizing: Jakes’ vocals floating light and airy above the strong, synthy melody held together by surprisingly heavy drum/bass lines. But it all works, and more than that, this is beautifully addictive! And so I found myself listening through pecq’s entire oeuvre and am ready for more.
When asked about the artistic process behind “Too Far Gone,” Nikò O’Brien and Hannah’ Jakes’ Jacobs, aka pecq, say that it
came from the experience of trying to ground someone losing their grip on reality. It’s two opposite forces, one anchoring and one pulling away, further and further into their own world. In the drop, we wanted to capture the helpless, weightless feeling as that anchor finally breaks and you both spin out of control.
Filmmaker Zak Waston adds:
In Too Far Gone, we follow the character into a vibrant, spacious landscape, breaking out of the claustrophobic interiors of parts 1 and 2. Our character is fascinated by her surroundings but wants to find a way out into her true reality, symbolised by blue flickerings amidst the artificial colours of this world — a hint of what’s to come in part 4.
Enjoy the video while listening to “Too Far Gone,” our Song Pick of the Day
Connect with pecq here.
Tara Nome Doyle — Caterpillar
“Værmin” is a sweeping, beautiful album about a complex love story. While you probably don’t want to come too close to any of the animals the songs are named after, the bright, intricate soundscapes that Berlin-based artist Tara Nome Doyle creates, are something to indulge. “Værmin” is out tomorrow, and Tara has just released a gripping video for the last single, “Caterpillar.”
Watch Tara as an eerie spirit who seduces others into complacency in the video directed by Oliver Mohr:
Cab Ellis — 3 Days Only
Quick, think about what can happen in three days? Or when was the last time you were truly excited for three days straight? Got something? Indie-rock five-piece Cab Ellis have just the song for us with their buoyant and simply gorgeous “3 Days Only.” The single marks the first taste of their second album to drop in March.
Behind the moniker Cab Ellis are songwriter, singer, and guitarist Connor Abeles, Matt Richards (sax, clarinet, flute), Jonny Sim (guitar), Nick Petrou (bass), and Chris Cotton (drums). I had met Connor a couple of times in December when we chatted about all things music and life on the East and West Coast. Maybe unsurprisingly, Cab Ellis’ second album is called The East Coast Hold On. Last summer, the band holed up in a converted farmhouse in the Pacific Northwest where they recorded the album with legendary producer Gordon Raphael.
I asked Connor where the idea for “3 Days Only” came from or what it means to him, and he says:
We wanted all the guitars and sounds in the song to smack the listener right across the face. That’s what happened to me when I met the person I’m talking about in the song. It’s about waking up.
Right on! This feeling of zinggggg and utter exuberance is palpable.
Lucky for us, Cab Ellis have exchanged the sunshine in L.A. with New York’s grittier temps and are ready to hit the local music scene. Connor Abeles and his mates are easily one of the hottest acts to see live in 2022, as I could get a taste on January 7th at Arlene’s Grocery, where they kept the audience dancing and cheering. Another chance to see them live is on February 3rd at Rockwood Music Hall, which you don’t want to miss!
For now, listen to “3 Days Only,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with Cab Ellis here.
Warpaint — Champion
By now Californian band Warpaint is a phenomenon. At a time of solo artists and bands that are merely collectives around a single mastermind, they stuck together as a creative unit since 2004. Emily Kokal, Jenny Lee Lindberg, Stella Mozgawa, and Theresa Wayman defied all forces that could have driven them apart: solo projects, grueling tour schedules, motherhood, and the pandemic that dispersed them all over the globe. But here they are, ready to release their fourth album “Radiate Like This” (May 6) that sounds artful and fresh like if they just started playing together. Other musicians would have the utmost attention of the industry with everything they do at this time. However, it seems that many still regard Warpaint as a bunch of well-connected Angelenos who somehow got a lucky break.
Hopefully, that will change with “Champion,” the brilliant first single of “Radiate Like This.” The harmonies, the guitar work, the creative song structure, and driving rhythm — Stella Mozgawa is arguably one of the best drummers in the world — come together to something that one can only call the “Warpaint Sound.” A genre-defining brand of dream pop that you cannot listen to without thinking of the women who invented it.
Listen to our Song Pick of the Day, “Champion,” on your favorite streaming service or below on YouTube or SoundCloud: