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Atlantic Canyons Navigates Personal Growth on ‘See The Hue’

Last month, New Hampshire-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrea Levesque unveiled her latest EP, See The Hue, under the name Atlantic Canyons. Recorded with session musicians who Levesque met in online chatrooms, the project is a collection of creepily enchanting psalms with rippling synths on tracks like “Sorry,” and “At Sea,” as well as cavernous string-layered soundscapes and lyrics that unravel Levesque’s personal trauma throughout the EP. “Breathing’s easier underneath the surface/Rushing waves fall, soaked in endless sky,” she desperately trills on the titular track.

“[See The Hue] bears witness to feelings of fear and loneliness, and there is catharsis in acknowledging unpleasant emotions,” Levesque reveals. “By allowing myself the freedom to experience these feelings without judgment, I became unburdened by them.” 

Shortly after its release, the project rapidly took the #1 spot for most EP adds on the North American College & Community Radio Charts, and it’s easy to see why. Not many recent dreampop projects I’ve heard pack the same punch as See The Hue. The project is incredibly dynamic and all-encompassing, combining elements of trip hop, dreampop, and shoegaze. On no track is this more evident than “One More Minute,” with its rumbling tribal drum patterns and echoing guitars coupled with Levesque’s ethereal vocal melodies. “Everybody’s moved on/With the exception of you and me,” she urgently croons on the track.

“Haunted World,” opens with a menacing gothic organ wheeze that calls to mind The Marble Index and Desertshore-era Nico. Levesque’s breathy vocals emulate the likes of Portishead and Curve, with static drum-machine patterns that eventually build to a heady climax with skull-shattering bass breaks. I wouldn’t be surprised if the sound engineer had dismantled the entire soundboard and jammed a screwdriver inside while it was plugged in to achieve that impact.

The overall sound of See The Hue captures the state of Levesque steering a ship that is lost at sea in a hurricane. The final track, “Life At the Top,” which includes soulful guest vocals and playful ad-libs from Star Smash, offers a sense of humility and a state of calm after the worst of the storm has passed, clearing a path in the sky for Levesque to see the fractals of a glittering sunset reflected in the murky waters, yet wary of the storms yet to come.


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Stice Unleash Absurdist Hedonism on ‘Stice’s Satyricon’

Helmed by lead vocalist and lyricist Caroline “Crab” Bennet and producer and multi-instrumentalist Jake “Jark” Lichter, digital hardcore dance punk duo Stice require no introduction. Dubbing themselves “dial-up netscape nightmare fodder” and “zolo-horrorcore for the TikTok generation,” the duo rapidly accumulated a cult following in 2019, combining the abrasive fever-dream production stylings of Machine Girl with the bizarro green-screen visuals of 100 gecs, their cracked-out lyrics ping-ponging off of sinewy walls of honking synths, clanging percussion, and PS2 video game samples. 

Starting off this past summer with a bang, the duo struck while the iron was hot and announced a new album titled Stice’s Satyricon–which was just released yesterday via Ramp Local–unleashing the album’s chaotic lead singles, “I Need Cash!!!” and “Touch the Cloth.” The latter is a pulsing, chirping synth-laden rumination on suffering from explosive diarrhea, a perfect representation of how the group can take a song with grotesque lyrics full of low-brow potty humor and–thanks to Bennet’s melancholy vocal tones and Lichter’s ethereal fever-dream production–spectacularly transform it into an oddly beautiful psalm where Bennet laments her “suey guts” (“Gimme piece of the cloth/gimme all that you ought/gimme shit gimme piss gimme moss”).

The album’s third single, “Boogie on My Funky Grave,” accompanied by a Blair Witch-esque nightvision visual, is another standout moment on the album. Lichter’s off-the-wall Zach Hill-like production is accompanied by sirens and buzzing bass, glitching drum machines, and Bennet’s high-pitched yodeling vocalizations.

On “I Need Cash!!!” Bennet sardonically delivers the opening lines in a mock valley-girl accent, “Big pussy/Big ass/You know that I need cash!” On the surface, “I Piss Myself” may sound like a silly MySpace-core rager, but a closer look at the lyrics will reveal just how sinister in tone the song actually is. Bennet calls out rape, murder, racism, and addiction within the first three lines of each verse, equating “pissing yourself” with the visceral paranoia of constantly being reminded just how close everyone is in proximity to the evils of the world.  (“When I think I’m thinking/I piss myself, I piss myself”).

The album as a whole is a melange of sprawling, violently confrontational digital hardcore pop. And need I mention the lyrics, the lyrics. On “Satyricon,” the group combines urgent desire with bodily functions with lyrics like “Every time I pee, I cum religiously.” On “Honk If You’re Honky,” the lyrics go “Sucking a stump and calling it maple/Look whos fucking me under the table.” It’s hedonistic and transformative, right on par with Black Dresses’ Devi McCallion declaring that her “pussy’s like a bulldozer.” Enter the wonderfully unhinged universe of Stice, if you dare.


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New Music Review

KEANA Relinquishes Emotional Stagnation with “Teardrops”

If Alison Goldfrapp and Portishead conceived a baby while Björk watched, the end product would no doubt be rising dream pop virtuoso KEANA. Based in Los Angeles, KEANA is best known for her delicately fluid and imaginative universe of trip hop and electronic ambience; a crystalline dream sequence-like universe she carefully crafted as the sole writer, producer, and sound engineer of her work.

Her previous singles “Lilac” and “Sway” received critical praise for her hard-hitting atmospheric soundscapes and mystic lyrics, garnering praise from respected publications such as Earmilk and Atwood Magazine.

Now, with her newest single “Teardrops,” KEANA tackles the importance of self-love and positive affirmations in relationships against the backdrop of dynamic percussive sounds and ethereal vocals cushioned in layers of lush synth-lines and subtle horns.

“‘Teardrops’ speaks about realizing someone can only love you as much as they love themselves,” KEANA reveals. “The story is about being in a relationship with a “Fixer-upper,” this person seems put together on the outside but deep down they’re filled with insecurity and fear which often gets taken out on the partner. Eventually I take comfort in feeling my emotions and wish the other person would do the same.”

The lyrics brilliantly blend poetic sincerity and endearingly melodramatic stanzas. “Earlier today, I bathed myself and caressed my skin, pretending it was you,” she cheekily confesses in the opening line of the song. It’s a hilariously relatable and gorgeously windswept ode to allowing tears to flow freely in order to experience the full spectrum of human emotion.


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Amyl and the Sniffers Strike Gold on Sophomore Album “Comfort to Me”

With their raw energy and vibrantly humorous and introspective lyrics, Aussie rockers Amyl and the Sniffers have always put their own exciting spin on multiple pastiches of early hard rock, punk, and riot grrrl, which was on full display with their 2019 self-titled debut. 

Now, the group is back with an even stronger follow-up, Comfort to Me, which they worked on with Dan Luscombe, who has produced the likes of Courtney Barnett and The Blackeyed Susans. Accompanied by a scuzzy garage-rock sonic atmosphere and a multitude of flashy solos by guitarist Dec Mehrtens, frontwoman Amy Taylor rips and roars her way through every track. It’s incredibly transparent that Taylor is much more self-assured on this album, promising she’s got “plenty of energy,” on “Guided by Angels” and waving her freak flag high and mighty on bold and beefy cuts like “Choices,” “Don’t Fence Me In,” and “Freaks to the Front.”

Throughout the record, Taylor stands in stark defiance against the self-righteous dickheads who stand in her way, chiding a bouncer at a club for judging her based on her appearance on “Security” (“You look at normies different to me/You look at them with trust”). “I am who I am/I said what I said,” she spits on the equally venomous love song “Maggot.” On “Capital,” a rapid speed-metal ode to bodily autonomy, Taylor channels the feisty rage of riot grrrl touchstones L7 and the sharp and witty commentary of Wendy O. Williams from the Plasmatics (“It’s just for capital/Am I an animal?”). “Out comes my knife/Out comes my knifey/This is how we get home nightly,” she rages on “Knifey,” railing against the unsettling fact that many women often cannot even go for a night walk without their safety being threatened by creeps.

“Hertz” is a taut rumination on the state of the world and the mind-numbing boredom of sitting through a global pandemic in an urban setting with nothing to do but “stare at the graffiti on the walls of the gray walls.” “I wanna go to the country/I want to get out of here!” Taylor wails against buzzing synths and distorted riffs.

“It’s hard to know what was the pandemic and what was just my brain,” Taylor revealed on Apple Music. “Even though you can’t travel and you can’t see people, life still just happens. I could look through last year and, really, it’s like the same amount of good and bad stuff happened, but in a different way.”

The best records of all time are often born out of chaos and uncertainty, but what always makes them so great is the solace of community. As far as I’m concerned, this is a massive victory lap for Amyl and the Sniffers. 

Favorite tracks: “Hertz,” “Capital,” “Choices,” “Knifey,” “Don’t Fence Me In,” “Knifey,” “Snakes”


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DEVORA Sets Arizona Ablaze with Debut EP “Outlaw”

If western goth chanteuse DEVORA isn’t on your radar yet, it’s inevitable that she will be. In July, the Arizona native released her debut EP, Outlaw, an apocalyptic western oeuvre that tells the tale of a vengeful murderess on the hunt, hightailing her way through the desert wastelands of her hometown and leaving a trail of blood in her wake.

Photo by Marcus Kaasinen

Ariel Levitan, the brains behind DEVORA, has described this project as a liberating coalescence of her unruly style and spontaneous output. “As an innate lover of dark music and country music, I’ve always wanted to fuse the two in some way,” she told Atwood Magazine last month.

On this masterwork of lawless ghost town pop, DEVORA packs zero punches with sharp bass licks that perfectly sync up with the percussion on the simmering opening track, “Fist Fight.” The lyrics on this EP teeter on the edge of self-destruction and the most delicious forms of vengeance. DEVORA sings about putting her traitors in body bags, dousing motels in gasoline, and setting fire to her hometown out of sheer boredom.

Each track is an event all its own, bolstered by DEVORA’s husky, domineering vocal deliveries and lyrics that are packed to the brim with crimes-of-passion narratives that echo Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads and a dark country edge that mirrors Johnny Cash’s Live at Folsom Prison tapes. The twisted subject matter and spontaneous industrial production feels like a modern western parallel of Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral. “I wanna put you in a body bag/How’s that for a comeback,” she sneers on “Body Bag,” against swells of layered guitar overdrive, arpeggiating at lightning speed. 

The anthemic title track, “Outlaw,” is the sonic equivalent of the SYFY hit show Wynonna Earp, a western thriller about a badass feminist demon assassin who takes no prisoners. I could easily picture this song soundtracking a murder sequence in the show where the leading lady massacres a flurry of demons in a drive-by shooting after dousing her liver with moonshine at the local saloon.

The distorted and devilish riffs on “Not Dead Yet,” draw from the post-Sabbath hard rock of 1976. If this were the ’80s and we were living through the Satanic Panic, there’s no doubt that this song would be on multiple lists just for that killer riff alone, which makes it even better. The stripped-down closing track “Elvis,” is essentially a dream pop song with a country twang, combining the reflective storytelling of Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton with the production stylings of Mazzy Star – a combination that works surprisingly well – complete with airy, layered harmonies and simple reverb-soaked strumming.

The soundscapes on this EP are distinctly imminent, alarming, and even cinematic. It’s the sound of a David Lynch surrealist thriller set in the scorching deserts of the Wild West. The mood board, the visuals, and the subject matter are all a product of DEVORA’s own vision, pulling from harrowing personal tales of trauma and rage, and heaps of poetry she’s written throughout her life. Wherever she’s headed in the future, there’s no doubt there will be watchful eyes anticipating her next move.


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