Seven Fresh Songs #113
Oropendola — Stillness
Oropendola is the lyrical chamber-pop project of Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Joanna Schubert. The artist chose a gregarious, enchanting bird native to South and Central America as her moniker, which perfectly characterizes the magical beauty of her music. While new to the scene as Oropendola, Joanna Schubert has been lending her vocals and musical chops to synth-pop act Half Waif and dream-pop band Barrie.
With “Stillness,” Oropendola dazzles from the start when she plays on a celesta, and adds more and more instruments as the song progresses. Her vocals are breathy and ethereal, like little flakes of glitter on fresh white snow. Lyrically, she also plays with the imagery of winter, and when she croons “winter won’t last much longer, dear” I am tempted to believe her. In its build, “Stillness” is reminiscent of Sufjan Steven’s finest works yet with an alluring, female vibe.
Asked about the first single from her future full-length album, Joanna Schubert says:
“Stillness” — recorded and co-produced with Zubin Hensler — is an ode to the season of patience and hibernation, imagined through the lens of an oropendola.* Rather than merely waiting for Spring to emerge, may we slow down and be present where we are, feel into the months of darkness and muted tones, and nestle deep into our most internal layers. Savor the precious, expansive silence of our own empty nests.
The sentiment resonates with me because winter is the time to get things “done,” while staying so much indoors. It’s also a time to embrace a different kind of beauty and savor it wherever we can find it, like in a brilliant track like “Stillness.”
Listen to “Stillness,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with Oropendola here.
Grace Ives — Loose
The state of mind that “Loose” feels probably familiar to many even if it manifests itself differently than described here. What is new is the joy and energy that the electric production adds to the matter. Whatever Brooklyn singer, songwriter, and producer Grace Ives is going through, she certainly is not giving up.
“Living in a bed bug infested apartment, withdrawing from SSRIs, not sleeping. There’s nowhere to go but up.”
Listen to “Loose,” our Song Pick of the Day on your favorite streaming service or watch the video below on YouTube:
Michael Beharie — Ghost
The music that New York-based chamber pop artist Michael Beharie creates is as sophisticated as it is alluring. His newest single “Ghost” instantly enchants with its exquisite flow and finespun build. The song’s intriguing instrumentation is beautifully balanced and Michael Beharie’s soft and airy vocals support the filigree vibe of “Ghost.” Asked about the first song of his upcoming album, Beharie says:
“Ghost” is about early experiences of heartbreak. Maybe the wordless melodies, sung by Charlotte Mundy, represent the heartbreaker. The thuddy 808s supporting the bright stacks of guitars and flutes felt like a good world for this story.
We sense a bigger story arch of which “Ghost” might only be the beginning?
“Ghost” can be found on Michael Beharie’s upcoming album Promise, out on April 8. It will also be exciting to experience an early taste of the album, when Michael Beharie and his live band perform at Brooklyn’s Union Pool, on March 2nd.
Listen to “Ghost,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with Michael Beharie here.
Vicky Farewell — Kakashi (All of the Time)
Binge-watching TV has probably been one of the most popular pastimes in the last two years. In her new song, singer/songwriter and producer Vicky Nguyen, aka Vicky Farewell captures the state of mind one can get into after immersing in a different world for an extended time — in her case the anime series Naruto.
The lighter-than-air song is all fun and no regret, even though Vicky was not sure to release it at first, as she reveals:
“It’s probably the most fun I ever had writing a song, it’s also the most embarrassing and I thought I’d never share this with anyone, but here we are.”
Our Song Pick of the Day, “Kakashi (All of the Time),” is on Vicky Farewell’s upcoming album “Sweet Company,” out on April 8. Listen to our Song Pick of the Day below:
Sunglaciers — Out Of My Skull
What’s in a name? It’s about the music and good band names are already taken anyway. Think again and start listening to “Out Of My Skull,” the new single by Canadian psychedelic post-punk band Sunglaciers. Alone writing or saying the band’s name puts a little smile on my face. Genius! Albeit, the song’s lyrical content and visuals are darker and enthralling.
The highly appealing video with its surreal vibe is directed by songwriter Evan Resnik, who says:
“Out Of My Skull” is dark but it’s lively. I shot in black and white to lend a bit of a classic, noir vibe to the video, which also helped bring out some of my innate 90s influence.
Resnik explores the song’s background further and says:
The lyrics loosely reference Miles Davis and a few moments from his life: his hiatus from 1975–80, a shooting in 1969, being assaulted by a cop outside Birdland in 1959. I watched a lot of music documentaries in early 2020 when we began writing this record. Miles was a mysterious and brooding artist, and that initial inspiration helped me get into that mindset during songwriting and throughout the video production. The video is intimate but detached, with close-up faces in contrasting, unreal environments. We’re in your face, but we’re not really there. We had a lot of fun shooting, and I think that comes through in the video and adds a bit of levity.
It is utterly fascinating to learn where songwriters take their inspirations from. Despite being overall darker in its mood, moments of joy and playfulness shine through.
In short, this is a brilliant video and song and makes us, even more, looking forward to seeing Sunglaciers next week during New York’s New Colossus music festival! Sunglaciers also have their second LP, Subterranea, coming out on March 25 via Motherland.
Listen to “Out Of My Skull,” our Song Pick of the Day, and watch the video:
Connect with Sunglaciers here.
Laveda — bb
Almost exactly two years ago the Albany, NY-based indie rock duo Laveda embarked on a tour leading to SXSW, including a glamglare showcase. Then you-know-what happened, and we were all stopped in our tracks. It is a manifest of resilience that Laveda is back to do it again, including showcases at the New York New Colossus Festival and SXSW. However, with their first new track since their debut album, “What Happens After,” they go back once more when being alone at home was the norm. Singer Ali Genevich explains:
“In the winter of 2020, every day really started to feel the same for me. The pandemic seemed to be getting just as bad as when it began back in Spring and like everyone else all I had been thinking about was the possibility for life to feel normal again. For a while I was just thankful that most of my friends and family were in good health and that we were able to keep ourselves afloat in such a crazy time, but of course that’s not all I was feeling. Both Jake and I felt like the past year had been so waste.”
Listen to our Song Pick of the Day,”bb,” on your favorite streaming service or below on Bandcamp:
5PM to Nowhere — Acceptance
Singer/songwriter Jacob Webb creates catchy songs with substance under the artist name 5PM to Nowhere. His new single “Acceptance” is the first offering from his upcoming EP Stoicism, set to release on May 13.
“Acceptance” resonated with me immediately, thanks to its intriguing title and lyrics to its beautiful melody, and thoughtful instrumentation.
We asked the Milwaukee-based artist for some insight and Jacob says:
I wrote ‘Acceptance’ while preparing to graduate college. Periods of large-scale change like that have a way of getting you to re-evaluate everything you normally take for granted. For me, I looked at the relationships and habits I had developed in my life and wondered whether or not they were really beneficial to my own growth and well-being as an individual. That’s the core of this song, accepting that certain parts of your life that mean a lot to you may really be holding you back.
We hope that no one is holding 5PM to Nowhere back, but that he’s onto somewhere worthwhile!
Listen to “Acceptance,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with 5PM to Nowhere here.