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New Music Review

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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Album Review New Music

‘I Want the Door to Open:’ Lala Lala’s Artistic Victory Lap

Listening to the latest album by Lala Lala–the brainchild of Chicago-based indie rocker Lillie West–is like listening to a once-cynical adult reverting back to their childlike wonder and learning to play again. It’s a manic trip of bombastic synth-infused ballads that transports the listener to another dimension, with lyrics that invoke tragedy, mortality, and joy and despair with intricate gospel choirs, wigged-out production, and lush vocoder-layered harmonies.

Lala Lala’s previous album’s The Lamb and Sleepyhead, were introspective bare-bones indie projects that West had recorded with a three-piece band. Her forthcoming album, I Want the Door to Open, is a much more sonically adventurous project with a lengthy personnel of collaborators including Yoni Wolf of WHY? on production, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya on drums, Benjamin Gibbard on guest vocals, Adam Schatz of Landlady and Sen Morimoto on saxophone, and many others.

The record is a loose concept album that tackles mortality, the labor of living, and the occasional highs we garner from being alive. On “DIVER,” West invokes the greek tragedy of Sisyphus of Ephyra, who was punished by the gods for wanting too much, forced to push a boulder up a mountain from Hell for eternity. It sounds like every instrument is battling each other for domination in the mix, production that’s guaranteed to leave every listener reeling. “Lava,” “Castle Life,” “Beautiful Directions,” and “Bliss Now!” each contain enchanting vocal loops and ethereal gospel choirs reminiscent of the styles of FKA Twigs and Kate Bush, both of whom West cites as major influences on the album.

“I want to be the color of the pool/I want to hold the fire part of fuel,” West yearns on the cinematic “Color of the Pool,” illustrating the violent desire that most humans feel to control the ways that they are perceived. “How can anyone else know who you are?” West asks. “How can you know who anyone else is when all these different avatars or personalities or performances are happening simultaneously, in different places.” Featuring an unhinged layered saxophone solo by Adam Schatz, the sonic landscape that West built around the song is just as urgent as the lyrics themselves, if not more.

This desire to mold one’s self-image into an avatar that doesn’t fit them is echoed on “Photo Photo,” where West traverses the pervasiveness of online digital spaces and social media. “There it is again, A flicker of pleasure/I didn’t take a picture, I guess I’ll have to remember,” she laments.

The closing track, “Utopia Planet” is a four-minute otherworldly pop opera with cavernous synths, amorphous production, and a blossoming saxophone solo by Sen Morimoto. The song closes with a voice-recording of West’s Grandma Beth, closing off the album on a lighthearted note.

“I tried to imagine a great expanse, abundance, an open door. It’s an invitation to surrender. I used a recording of my grandmother to take you further into another world.” It is the quintessential album closer, illuminating how acceptance of one’s circumstances is the only way one can truly reach a sense of peace. The door may never open, but we all must learn to fall in love with the labor of pushing the boulder up the mountain.

‘I Want the Door to Open’ will be released on October 8th via Hardly Art.


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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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Interview New Music

Chatting with Alex Sepassi of Silver Relics About Their New Single, Distant Planets, & Trent Reznor

Blending elements of ‘60s British classic rock, post punk, grunge, and psychedelia, New York-based art-rock outfit Silver Relics have never been the type of group to paint themselves into a corner.

Silver Relics was formed in 2017 by Alex Sepassi and the group’s former drummer Justin Alvis. Sepassi started singing and writing songs at the tender age of ten, and has an uncanny ability to incorporate his unique assortment of influences into his writing while maintaining a distinctly modern post-digital sound.

On their newest single, “Tails”–a brooding ode to primitive animal instincts produced by Brian Young (Fountains of Wayne)–Silver Relics echoes the grittiness of Alice In Chains while pushing themselves far down the Nine Inch Nails spiral (Trent Reznor is a personal hero of Sepassi’s). The song marries the psychedelic overdrive of Spacemen 3 with undulating guitar riffs that sound like a B-side off of Throwing Muses’ The Real Ramona.

I spoke with Sepassi about the recent single, working with the evolution of the band, his most omnipresent influences, and much more!

What is the first song you can remember learning to play when you started out as a musician? 

“Tom Dooly” by The Kingston Trio. It was the very first song in this vintage guitar learners guide book I had. I think there are about four chords in that tune. I still remember it.

What was it that initially drew you to the psychedelic realms of classic and indie rock? 

When I was in college I started to understand what psychedelic music really meant to me. After listening to bands like Pink Floyd and The Zombies, I knew there was plenty of space to experiment with tonality along with expression and composition. After that, there came a point where I just started to define it for myself.

I’ve grown attached to the late ‘60s and the ‘70s. There were so many new bands sprouting in America and the UK. It’s all encompassing when you think about the number of genres that were created during that time.

– Alex Sepassi
Photo by Gail Thacker

Not long after your first European tour you’ve worked with legendary talents like Mark Crozer and Brian Young. What was collaborating with them like? 

Brilliant! We’re in the process of working on our sophomore album together. It’s been an amazing experience honestly. We all work well together. We have gone through a big and lengthy adjustment period, but Mark, Brian, Hitomi and I have all aligned on the soundscape, which has allowed for a great deal of fluidity in and out of the studio. And I’m thrilled to work with such strong talents.

What are some of your favorite periods or eras in music history? 

So many. I’ve grown attached to the late ‘60s and the ‘70s. There were so many new bands sprouting in America and the UK. It’s all encompassing when you think about the number of genres that were created during that time. I believe that template is still prevalent in music today among rock bands. It’s a history lesson any way you look at it. Punk is a great example of what evolved/unfolded towards the back end of the decade. What’s not to like about that?

Your music echoes many of the great periods in rock history, but it is also very modern and current with the digital elements you incorporate in production. Would you say that maintaining that balance is a strong priority for the band? 

First off, thank you. That’s exactly it. Brian’s production style is strong and unique. We bind the two together and put the emphasis on the songs. In other words, the songs dictate the style and production. And yes that does call for modern and digital elements at times. Especially in post-production. 

“Tails” explores the possibilities of forming an understanding of another individual/person/animal/stanger through our own and unique body language.

– Alex Sepassi
Photo by Gail Thacker

If you could collaborate with any artist (living or dead) who would it be? 

I would absolutely love to write with Trent Reznor. I’ve always appreciated his style and the way he approaches his songs and production. And how they tend to have a prevalent cinematic quality to them. Anyway, just let us know, Trent! 

In “Tails” you explore the abilities that humans have to identify “the instinctive aspects of humanity and the nonverbal communication we use daily.” I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit more about this concept and how it unfolded in writing sessions? 

“Tails” explores the possibilities of forming an understanding of another individual/person/animal/stanger through our own and unique body language. It’s important to have the lyrics and music interact and also fit in the same space, and it became a collective effort rather quickly once the lyrics were finished. Mark’s bass articulates the depth of what the bottom end can really be. And Brian’s emphasis on certain phrases truly accentuates those moments. 

If you were to go on a trip to another planet and could only bring one record what album would you take with you? 

Ah! I’m glad you asked. I’d like to take The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” to Neptune if they’re accepting visitors. Thanks so much for having us!


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Interview New Music

A Chat with Zoe Zobrist About Classic Rock, Starting a Band at 13, and Motherhood

Hailing from Dallas, Texas, alternative rocker Zoe Zobrist has already cemented herself as a music industry veteran at just 23 years old. Raised on classic rock records and Laurel Canyon desert-folk, she started playing piano as soon as she could walk and began writing songs at the age of seven before many children have learned how to read.

Zobrist has received heaps of praise in publications like FLAUNT, Under The Radar Magazine, and Culture Collide, and has also graced the stage at legendary venues around the country including The Troubadour and The Viper Room in LA. She also recently appeared in John Mellencamp’s 2019 touring documentary.

Now, Zobrist is on the brink of return with her forthcoming single, “Oh Baby,” a gentle acoustic open letter to her unborn child. Stepping into parenthood can be a challenging endeavor that can trigger uncertainty but also genuine joy and elation.

I spoke with Zobrist prior to the release of “Oh Baby” to discuss her blossoming career and stepping into this new chapter of her life.

You’ve spent the majority of your life writing songs, and I was wondering how you have evolved or learned from past triumphs and mistakes since the beginning?

Yes! I started writing when I was 7 & have used songwriting as a tool to sort through my experiences since then. Something I’ve learned and continue to remind myself is that at the end of the day I write because it makes me genuinely happy. Not every song has to be “good.” It’s just about getting out of your head and creating, not putting a bunch of pressure on yourself. 

Having a child is a very exciting chapter for both your life and career. What are some of the most significant things you’ve discovered about yourself as an individual and a public figure throughout the process?

I’ve grown so much over these past nine months. Literally and figuratively hahaha. Emotionally though, it’s been really good for me. I cut out drinking, vaping, caffeine and made a lot of lifestyle changes in general. The discomfort this brought ultimately helped me reflect on things I hadn’t in a long time and heal.

Were there any specific records that influenced the new single or—since it was much more personal—did it come together more organically? 

I think some of my favorites that I was listening to regularly were Phoebe Bridgers, Elliot Smith and Bon Iver. In general I tend to write in a very diary-like way regardless, so personal is the goal.

I’m so amazed by people’s strength. I hope to foster an inclusive community where people can really relate to what I’m sharing.

– Zoe Zobrist

How have the past 18 months of the pandemic affected the way you listen to music? Have you found more comfort in the familiar, new discoveries, or both? 

The past 18 months have really given me gratitude that we have access to all of the online platforms that we do. It would have been an even more isolating experience otherwise. I found a lot more music online & enjoyed playing some virtual gigs. (Although I’m very excited to get back to live shows/a combo of both.)

Are you hoping that other women (as well as non-binary femmes and trans folks) living through pregnancy will be able to see themselves positively represented in your work?

Absolutely! I think that regardless of where someone is on their fertility/pregnancy/parenting journey – the changes and challenges you go through are huge and I’m so amazed by people’s strength. I hope to foster an inclusive community where people can really relate to what I’m sharing. 

What is the earliest time, place, and situation when you can recall music changing your entire world? 

I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember, but I went to a festival with my mom around age 5 where I saw a girl singing on stage and realized “I want to do that!” And that was that haha. 

What are some of your favorite records that were released in the past year and a half? 

Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers and Orca by Gus Dapperton 

How does a change in location affect your songwriting, whether it be in LA, Dallas, or Georgia?

It’s all different inspiration which is great. I’ve felt a bit isolated in Georgia because we’re living near a military base and there’s not much to do. I’m looking forward to moving back to southern California over the holidays. Anytime I feel creatively blocked a change of scenery is a great move even if it’s just a quick road trip! 


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Interview New Music

Catbells Transforms Uncertainty into Conviction on “It’s Not Hard”

Taking her name from the children’s book, The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter and a fell of mountains in the Lake District of England, dreampop singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Catbells invites her audience to immerse themselves in her wistful world of mature introspection and childlike wonder. This was on full display with her first single, “Fade (Rainy Day Demo),” which juxtaposed the melancholy fatigue of heartbreak against sullen detachment with velvety-smooth vocals and lush instrumental soundscapes.

On her newest single, “It’s Not Hard,” Catbells delves into the deepest recesses of human emotion to explore the pensive nature of escapism, comparing her life decisions to boarding a flight; once you’re on the plane, there’s no getting off of it.

I was fortunate enough to chat with Catbells about how the song came to fruition, utilizing her mysterious aura to keep the focus on her art, and finding solace in her childhood memories of New England.

What was the biggest thing that gravitated you to the dreampop/shoegaze space?

I have always loved music that makes you feel something, a feeling of nostalgia or something familiar that brings back memories. Dreampop and Shoegaze are both genres that put a listener into another world and really overtake the senses.

I’ve always loved when artists build a mystique around their persona and output, and I was wondering what made you decide to take a similar route as Catbells?

The mask and Catbells kind of found me, I can’t say I had great foresight or a plan into things. But the name Catbells really resonated with me when I first heard it as a name of a beautiful mountain in the Lake District of England. And then honestly I just felt that the cat mask would give me the artistic freedom I was longing for… I have always loved when an artist is an artist for arts sake, where the focus lies on the art they are making rather than focused on themselves as a person. I have loved too when artists and musicians transform into something that becomes art in itself, like Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, or the amazing magnetism and mystery of Orville Peck, or the creative cartoon genius of the Gorillaz. And it’s a lot of fun too!

When is the earliest you can recall having an inkling of wanting to pursue a career in music?

Music as a career was never my focus, music as a life choice is more the way it is, I am not sure I can say it is a career in the sense of a job, but more so a life path and just a part of who I am. And that probably was something that was there as a young child and just took time to develop.

How did “It’s Not Hard” first come to you and what was the creation process like from there? 

Many songs come to me in the form of one phrase or lyric and then build from there. “It’s Not Hard” started with the verse and the memory of a strong urge I had once sitting on the runway with the plane moments from taking off… in that moment being trapped, unable to turn back, no longer able to get off, no longer having any control, not wanting to go where I was going, but also not wanting to go back to where I’d come from… and seeing the rain pouring down outside the window and wanting nothing more than to literally break out the window and go lie in the rain and be free from it all… But ultimately the plane started rolling and then it took off and that was that. And that is how the song came to be.

What is one record that never fails to alleviate frustration and angst for you?

I think Split by Lush is a record I could listen to over and over when I am feeling that way.

I read that your vocal stylings and sound were inspired by the likes of Hope Sandoval and Nico. Would you like to tell me a little more about what they mean to you, and any other musicians that you really look at as pioneers? 

Hope Sandoval brings goosebumps when I hear her voice, she has such a calmness and sadness when she sings, and well. Nico brings a sullen yet matter of fact almost emotionless or numbness tone to her vocals that really makes me stop in my tracks whenever I hear her voice. I also love, like I mentioned above, Lush and the harmonies between Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson. And lately I have been listening to lots of Portishead and just enamored with Beth Gibbons’ voice. 

Something we have in common is we’re both New England kids. I was wondering how your songwriting has allowed you to reflect on your childhood hometown memories and how that has been beneficial to you?

Ah New England is such a special place!!! I think being from a place so amazing, with all the seasons and the scents and images that go along with each of them, makes feelings like nostalgia and longing something easier to tap into when I am writing. Thinking about the way the air feels there, and how the trees look, or the smell of the first snow about to fall, or the muddy fields after it rains, all of that really fuels my lyrics. Every month has its own special characteristics that feed the senses. I miss it terribly.


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Interview New Music

Cassie Marin Traverses the Digital World on New Single “Busy Body”

Today, indie electronica mastermind Cassie Marin debuts her new single, “Busy Body,” which explores the voyeuristic thrills and pitfalls of being the watcher and the watched in the digital landscape of social media.

Photo by Sergey Nikitenko

On “Busy Body,” Marin’s melodically ethereal vocals coast along effortlessly wavy synths, delivering reflective stanzas unpacking our culture’s obsession with with follows and likes in a time where social politics have become hyper-digitized, reducing one’s social life to a hollow shell of what it used to be.

I was fortunate enough to speak to Marin about the single, her initial forays into electronic music, social media, pushing boundaries with her production, and much more!

How did you initially get into making electronic-pop music and what was it that gravitated you to that specific field of music?


I think electronic-pop music is a genre I’ve been listening to since I was very young. The sonic direction I’ve taken over the years has been entirely unintentional. Ultimately, I think I blend many of the genres I listen to regularly into my music. It happens somewhat naturally. 

You seem to have a serious knack for tackling hard-to-navigate experiences throughout modern life? Would you say it comes from both personal experience and people you’ve observed as an outsider? 

I mean, I do like a good challenge! My life, like anyone else’s, has had various ups and downs. I think it’s important to learn from every experience and make the best of every situation so you can help others who may face similar challenges in the future. 

If you could cover any song throughout music history, what song would it be and why? 

“Moonriver” by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer. This song is very special to me because it transports me to a time (before easily accessible technology) where music was all a person could need. It wasn’t about fame or a successful career path, it was about feeling good in your own company with music to aid you.  

What is the process of sculpting these unique soundscapes in your songs like?

Each process is different, depending on whether I’m starting the song from scratch on my own or collaborating with another producer. But, usually my mood defines the atmosphere of the song as well as the musical elements I choose throughout the writing process. 

Do you model your vocal stylings after any specific influences or would you say that you came up with your style of singing on your own? 

I’ve admired and learned from many vocalists growing up. Most notably I would say, Hayley Williams, Anthony Green, The Weeknd and Jesse Rutherford.  

What is the most difficult part of having to live in a world where it’s nearly impossible to have a social life without having an online presence? 

I think the most difficult part is the lack of real connection. Communication and behaviors can be easily misconstrued while interacting online. You never know what a person could be going through based solely on what they reveal to you on the internet. 

What was one of the most valuable and useful discoveries you made when you first taught yourself to produce?

That I could push myself beyond my own boundaries, surprise myself and experiment to my heart’s desire with my own sound design. 


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New Music Review

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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Roo Makes a Stunningly Chilling Debut with “Glo”

Today, California-based indie songstress and self-proclaimed “technological maximalist” Roo debuts her first ever single “Glo,” which she co-produced with JJStewart. “Glo” is an experimental dark pop tale about toxic relationships and the struggle to navigate queer romance.

Opening with frosty coldwave synths and static white noise, the track envelopes the listener in a ghostly sonic embrace that could easily go toe-to-toe with Portishead’s Dummy. Before Roo herself even utters a word, the song will already have the listener hooked and stopped dead in their tracks. Roo pulls absolutely no punches in this grandiose artistic introduction to the world, and what an opening statement it is.

The lyrics show Roo laying bare her emotional vulnerability and pleading with the subject of the song to do the same. “How could I be enough,” she preens in the second verse with a Bjork-style cadence over eccentric production, distorted and accentuated telephone-filtered vocals, coarse basslines, and spiky 808s, adding a distinct R&B groove to this experimental synthpop masterpiece.

I had the privilege of chatting with Roo about her artistic introduction to the world, how her computer science degree has been a valuable asset in her experimental production, and what she anticipates for future career moves.

“Glo” feels like an amalgamation of trip-hop, neo-psych/soul, and dream pop, which I loved. How did the process of building a sonic landscape for the single come about?

My approach toward production is about play and intuition rather than rules, which is what gives me my genreless sound. My genius friend JJStewart created the original composition, then we went through transforming pieces to achieve the feeling we wanted. I did some pretty off-the-wall vocal production on this one, trusting my ear and pushing things further and further out of the box. It was a blast.

Photo by Jailyn Duong

How has your computer science background and affinity for technology informed your music?

A lot of experienced producers I’ve met don’t understand the nitty gritty of how their plugins work – but I do. And I’m pretty nimble with signal routing, which is how I achieve some of my more experimental sounds.

Also, I taught myself to produce over the past year. So much of coding is teaching yourself new skills, so I’m good at that – especially because production/mixing is really technical.

I process experiences through songwriting that I couldn’t hope to in my journal. It’s a direct lens into my intuition.

– Roo
Photo by Jailyn Duong

I ask everybody this because I’m always curious to know; what are some records that you’ve heard throughout your life that changed everything for you?

I’m very inspired by Vōx; Swim Good is one of my faves. The vulnerability and use of emptiness contrasted with the heavy bass and grit – it’s something I’ve never heard before.

Reconstruct by Photay is another one that ends up on repeat all the time. His composition is so off-the-wall, so clean, so effortless.

And all of Miss Anthropocene by Grimes. She was hugely influential to me before I learned about her relationship with Elon. The dystopian techno-fantasy universe she built completely blew my mind.

How has songwriting helped you traverse your individual experiences related to romance and identity?

I process experiences through songwriting that I couldn’t hope to in my journal. It’s a direct lens into my intuition. Sometimes I won’t even understand what I’m feeling until I sing about it, or I’ll figure out what to do next through the creative process.

Glo is about toxic love that I experienced while learning to navigate queer romance. My journey into queerness is a huge driving force in my music. I can’t wait to share more of that with my audience.

I did some pretty off-the-wall vocal production on this one, trusting my ear and pushing things further and further out of the box. It was a blast.

– Roo
Photo by Jailyn Duong

What is your current number-one played song on Spotify or Apple Music?

This is my first song out, so “Glo!”

What artist–living or dead–would be your dream collaboration?

SOPHIE. Rest in peace. A true visionary. Her enormous, mind-bending sounds with my haunting atmospheric flavor – a tasty futuristic blend.

Since Glo is your first single, what is the number-one thing you’re anticipating once it’s finally out to the public?

I’m really just excited to get on the map. Expectations will certainly be created based on this one project; I can’t wait to break them.

Glo” is now available to stream and download.

Categories
New Music

ROSIE Unravels Emotional Turmoil on New Single “Sad Sad Sad”

If the output of New York-based pop singer-songwriter ROSIE could be summed up in one word, it would be tenacity. She first picked up songwriting at the age of 12. Now 21, her ability to take on her personal demons and spin them into songwriting gold is uncanny.

This is no more present than on her newest single, “Sad Sad Sad,” the first single off her forthcoming EP slated to be released via Arista Records, which explores the five stages of grief. “The song represents acceptance and how, after a full year of healing and growing, sadness can still creep in,” she says. “This feeling is a reminder that sometimes there are certain scars that never go away, and when sadness is accepted it can serve as a lesson to never repeat the same mistake twice.”

The track gorgeously embodies melancholy dark-pop bombast with booming bass-drum machines and vocoder-coated harmonies, complemented by reverb-soaked guitar plucks that keep the song tethered to earth. It doubles the impact of ROSIE’s painstakingly desperate lyrics (“Twenty milligrams of happiness/But when I do the math, it doesn’t add up/’Cause I’m still sad sad sad sad sad”).

One particularly fatal emotional blow delivered in the song is the line, “It’s been the best year of my life, but it doesn’t add up,” proving that no matter how many amazing things an individual has going for them, stability, praise, and even success will never absolve anybody of grief. And she’s okay with that. “The scale of emotions that everyone feels is such a spectrum,” she said in the single’s press release. “The bad days are equally as important as the good days. Be strong when you’re feeling strong, be vulnerable when you’re feeling vulnerable.”

Sad Sad Sad is now available on all streaming platforms.