Seven Fresh Songs #59
The Night Game — Beautiful Stranger
With “Beautiful Stranger” The Night Game releases the last single off his collection of songs that will all find a home on his upcoming album “Dog Years,” out March 5th. Behind the moniker, The Night Game is prolific songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Martin Johnson, who calls Nashville his current home. “Beautiful Stranger” immediately transports us back to the height of 80s electro-pop: the pulsating beat, the warm and powerful vocals, complete with a wistful saxophone solo. Superb! I will never get tired of listening to music with such a beautiful 80s vibe and smart production. When asked about the backstory to “Beautiful Stranger,” Johnson explains:
I struggle telling stories that aren’t my own. I hadn’t successfully finished a love song since the emo ship sunk, and was slowly sinking in the LA dating quicksand…emotionless, clinging to songs about nostalgia and regret, never about love…most certainly not promising someone they would never be alone. That person just didn’t exist for me. So I let the song sit on a hard drive half-finished for years. Co-producer Brandon Paddock and I were sitting in Burbank listening to old songs trying to catch lightning in a bottle in the 11th hour. At that time, I had caught a glimmer of hope in my personal life and had met a girl in Nashville who inspired me to pack my bags and put the house on the market. The almost 10-year streak of inability to write a love song had been broken, and Dog Years was finally complete.<
We are looking forward to listening to all 11 songs on the album in their designated order. Enjoy “Beautiful Stranger,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Amber Jay — Stay The Same
The Liverpool-based singer and songwriter Amber Jay has her own mind when she crafts her music. Her new track is called “Stay The Same,” but musically, it goes to many different and unexpected places. It is Amber’s voice that holds everything together in a compelling way.
Amber gives some background about the song.
“‘Stay The Same’ is a classic heartbreak track. It encapsulates that pining feeling for someone when a relationship has ended and whatever you try to do to fix it just makes the other person more and more distant. Kind of like when you’re swimming and there’s like a lilo in the water and every time you try and wade towards it to get on, the water’s ripples from your movement pushes it further and further away. This track was super fun to make and the first track we recorded. I was so happy with how it sounded that it made me want to make an EP. So, without this track there would be no EP!”
The EP in question is called “Never Too Far From a Dark Thought” and scheduled for release on March 3. Listen to “Stay The Same” below:
EMERGER — Round We Go
Alt-pop duo EMERGER releases the blissfully charming “Round We Go” but together with an enchanting music video. At home in Capetown, South Africa, Emma de Goede and Gerry Matthee are gearing up for their forthcoming full-length album later this year. “Round We Go” floats on a sea of bright and joyful synth-waves, with De Goede’s warm and captivating vocals adding sparkles on top.
Matthee, who also produced the track, says about their new single:
We wrote this song for all the creators out there. “Round We Go” revolves around the artist’s raison d’être, which is to create. The lyrics play with the idea that an artist’s relationship with his/her art can be similar to the ebb and flow of a romantic relationship. The song chronicles the creative process and all of its intricacies. Everything involved with the creation of a work of art has so many layers of complexities, which we feel a lot of people have taken for granted.
With a vision in mind, De Goede enlisted cinematographer Hugo Brand, and directed the video herself. She explains:
Being immersed within a tank of thousands of lights, the video portrays how the creative process can be all-encompassing. We knew from the start we wanted to establish a cinematic experience. Our friend, Goddy Roodt, owner of Polycat animation and visual effects studio, exhibited his Light Tank art installation at the 99 Loop Gallery, which was the perfect setting to shoot the music video for “Round We Go.”
Enjoy the beautifully twinkling and swirling video, and listen to “Round We Go,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Ava De Bara — Fame
Running after fame has somewhat of a bad rep and Ava De Bara wants to do something against it. “Fame; I was told not to want you, fame; I know that you’ll find me,” she sings, and we hope all the attention will do her good. “Fame” is Ava De Bara’s first song, out on Dutch label TCBYML. That’s about all we know about Ava, but the chill, fluid vibe of her first single makes us curious for more.
Listen to “Fame,” our Song Pick of the Day below:
ISLAND — Octopus
“Octopus”, the new single by London four-piece ISLAND opens with the band’s signature guitar sound, first a few bright tunes before the catchy rhythm section hits and the compelling vocals take us on a ride. For this single, ISLAND went into the studio with producer Mikko Gordon (Thom Yorke / Arcade Fire) and the result is still very much what fans came to love from the band plus new textures, instruments, and of course recording techniques. They maybe never sounded more like themselves than with “Octopus.” As if the captivating single alone wasn’t enough, they also add a fantastic, slightly surreal band video to the mix, directed by Joel Barney.
When asked about their newest œuvre, the band says:
‘Octopus’ describes the feeling of looking back on rebellious teenage years from a time where an impulse to cause trouble has been replaced with new sentiments. It’s about the conflict felt as a musician between wanting to grow older and wiser and wanting to stay young, and it asks if we as a world are only interested in stories, and whether normality is something to be desired. A world in which you might be persuaded to change yourself to fit in, like an octopus changes colour to adapt to its surroundings. The song ends by flirting with the idea of reverting back to old ways, and getting back to making trouble.
Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? And maybe we should all allow ourselves -these days especially- to once in a while do silly things that we loved doing as children. This helps to change perspectives and bring some additional joy to ourselves. A song plus video like “Octopus” certainly brings a little joy and smiles into my life, and I will never forget having met and seen ISLAND live, almost two years ago, headlining our showcase. We are excited to know the pandemic did not stop ISLAND from being creative and here’s to more cool music in the future!
Enjoy the inspirational video and listen to “Octopus,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Paulina Vo — Sweetie
Pop music has a bias towards the big moments of relationships, the good, and even the bad ones. In her new track “Sweetie,” Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Paulina Vo put the focus onto a widely underrated emotion: the warm fuzzy feeling that there is somebody who you trust and who belongs to you. A shimmering, summerly production rounds up the song’s feel-good vibes — a perfect addition for your love songs playlist.
Paulina says about the song:
“I wrote “Sweetie” when I was on a trip away from my boo. No fronts, I just missed him. Despite everything, we’ve stuck it out and have grown so much together. It’s my feel good love song for the lovers out there.”
“Sweetie” is out today. Listen below:
Kowloon — Late Last Night
The sleek and sensual “Late Last Night” by Los Angeles-based musician and filmmaker Kowloon is the perfect addition to any feel-good playlist, Valentine’s Day or not. The song’s sexy-relaxed vibe is full of promise and possibilities, hints at what was and what could be. When asked about the track, Kowloon says:
Late Last Night is a break-up to make-up to break-up to make-up-again anthem for Valentine’s day. Gently surging bass guitar, low fi drum machines and guitars that warble like the warped images on an old vhs tape. A vocal at once tired, romantic, hopeful and defeated. A plea for a second chance, and ultimately a celebration of love. The song ends with a triumphant disco-guitar riff and the repeated refrain “I believe”.
Oh yes, I believe too! Listen to the irresistibly charming “Late Last Night,” our Song Pick of the Day: