TRACK REVIEW: Marika Hackman “My Lover Cindy”

Don’t let Marika Hackman’s innocuous appearance fool you – this Brit has bite. The 25-year-old singer songwriter has been acknowledged for her moody, in-depth approach to folk music, landing her touring spots alongside the likes of Laura Marling. While her debut full-length, We Slept At Last, was glum and gorgeous, Hackman had another tone in mind for her upcoming sophomore release, I’m Not Your Man.

“I wanted to let rip and lose control,” Hackman said in a press release. “That’s the kind of music I’ve always wanted to make. When I was younger I wasn’t looking at Joni Mitchell. I was looking at Nirvana thinking, ‘I wanna be like that!’”

The artist has successfully achieved something coarser in her latest single from I’m Not Your Man – the snarling “My Lover Cindy.” Before you can taste the bitter core of this track, Hackman pulls you in with insatiable melodies. Her lithe voice suggests a safe space, priming you for a puppy love number with the opening lyrics.

“If I was a liar, I would call you my friend/Let’s hope the feeling’s mutual in the end.”

Hackman’s sweet yet rigid delivery floats atop tangy Johnny Marr-esque guitar riffs, making the nasty little chorus all the more shocking.

“’Cause I’m a fucking pig/I’m gonna get my fill/I’m gonna keep my eyes on the prize/And I’ll suck you dry, I will”

Hackman has suggested that the song is a critique of instant gratification in every aspect of contemporary life – even relationships – especially in a time when sex is a “throwaway thing.” The song’s rather unlikable narrator is clearly afraid of commitment, but isn’t willing to deal with the consequences associated with such fear.

Near the song’s end, small voices chant behind Hackman’s croon – as if they’re whispering in a lover’s ear, or dictating a late night booty call: “I’m not the one, I’m not the one, but I like you.”

It might be depressing, but “My Lover Cindy” is certainly a song for the modern romance.

I’m Not Your Man is out on Sub Pop Records on June 2nd.

TRACK REVIEW: Stonefield “Sister”

Life is tough, and sometimes you need a dense track to complement that type of outlook. If you’ve found yourself in need of this type of song lately, then search no further than Stonefield’s track “Sister.”

It’s the perfect descriptor for a quartet of Aussie sisters who have been playing together since the youngest was only seven, the eldest just fifteen. The Findlay siblings hail from Victoria, and though their latest LP As Above So Below was released in their home country last year, it was only made available in the U.S. earlier this month, along with two special edition singles for “Changes” featuring “Sister” as its b-side.

Elementally, the track is comprised of hard-hitting guitar chords and heavy, spine-tingling synths that do well to perpetuate a sobering, hardened perspective. It’s a grungy garage rock track that would go well with a dreary rainy day or a bleak political atmosphere. One of the most exciting elements of this family band is that they create music that can sound wildly different on a track-by-track basis, which is expertly showcased in As Above So Below. Like a heavier version of Haim, these sisters are poised to take over America, having recently completed their U.S. tour supporting fellow psych-rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

Check out “Sister” by Stonefield via Soundcloud below.

TRACK PREMIERE: Mimi Raver “Creatures Of Habit”

The album art for Mimi Raver’s upcoming LP ’06 Female will give you an insight into the songwriter’s knack for duality. At first glance, the cover for Raver’s imminent release bears the precious, painterly image of a grey tabby, sitting pretty by a Kelly green couch. On closer inspection: droplets of blood color the cat’s mouth…and then you see the dead seagull, punctured and pinned between kitty’s paws.

The same secretly sinister allure is at play on Raver’s new single, “Creatures Of Habit,” which digs far deeper than its “bedroom pop” branding suggests. Raver’s music has also been branded as “analog,” which is far more fitting given the warm tape hiss that greets you in the opening bars of  “Creatures Of Habit.” Mimi Raver feels close. Very, very close. Her voice is too interesting to call a whisper, but it is made of a similar softness – gliding lithely on top of pitchy rhythm guitar. So it’s all the more surprising when she coos:

“Frank fell in the kitchen again/And he smashed his head on the window sill/Said he saw his wife at the door/But she’s been gone since 2004.”

Raver’s breed of “dream pop” plumbs far greater depths than songs about chilling at the beach. As for her approach to form, Raver has taken great care to convert her love of analog photography to an album exalting the messiness of tape recording. The entirety of ’06 Female was laid down on a Teac-3440 A 4-track reel-to-reel tape machine, which accounts for the wonderful graininess throughout.

Raver’s subtle songwriting is equally intriguing as her ability to harness discomfort so beautifully – and utilize the unexpected effects of her recording method. As “Creatures Of Habit” tapers off, warbling voices clamor in conversation – a result of radio signals the tape machine picked up from nearby broadcasting stations.

Raver is a quietly captivating songwriter; one that can merge the eerie and the intimate, the analog and contemporary, and a sordid sweetness that makes you want to hear more from her. Much more.

Stream our exclusive premiere of Mimi Raver’s “Creatures of Habit” below; ’06 Female arrives this April.

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Bleached “Can You Deal?”

Jennifer Clavin has a stern message for rock critics, and it comes in the form of the latest single from her band Bleached, “Can You Deal?” It’s the title track from a forthcoming four-song EP (which will be out on Dead Oceans March 3rd), and it was inspired by Clavin’s frustration with a music community more focused on her gender than on the content of her records. Last year, Bleached released their sophomore album, Welcome The Worms, and it dealt with some pretty heavy topics – abusive relationships, drug and alcohol addiction, searching for a sense of self – and pound for pound, each scorching guitar riff matched those issues with raucous gravitas. The production dwarfed the lo-fi sound of their debut record, 2013’s Ride Your Heart. But Clavin says that relatively few music writers wanted to delve into any of that; instead, one question kept coming up in interviews: the dreaded, reductive, “What’s it like to be a girl in band?”

It’s a tricky question, one that assumes male-ness as the default; no one would ask a male musician what it’s like to be a guy in a band. If the question is rephrased to exclude gender markers, it becomes, simply, “What’s it like to be a person in a band?” which reveals how acutely lazy the sentiment behind the question is. A woman cannot compare her experience as a woman in a band to this supposed “default” because she exists as a woman even when she’s not playing music. There are lots of musicians, Bleached included, who sing about personal experiences in their work, and while the best confessional songwriting taps into something relatable and universal, it’s still rooted in something specific. There is no universal experience that all women share based on their gender, but “Can You Deal?” points out how frequently folks seem to forget that.

More often than not, women are asked this question as a means of provoking some kind of feminist declaration. That can feel like a trap for a band or musician that doesn’t focus on politics in their work, especially since men are never asked to take a similar stance. It’s obvious that there’s still gender bias in the music industry – from festival line-ups that favor male acts, to rude sound guys who dismiss female players’ ability and know-how, to ads for gear featuring scantily clad models – and for some musicians, that’s certainly worth discussing. But asking a woman to re-live whatever gender-based affronts she’s experienced (which are, arguably, part of a larger system of patriarchal culture) doesn’t combat the issue in any real way, especially when it comes at the expense of ignoring the actual art that she’s making, the influences behind it, or what she hopes to achieve with it.

In the interest of putting this very tired question to bed once and for all, Clavin compiled essays, visual art, poetry, and lyrics from dozens of women in the industry. The resulting zine is also called “Can You Deal?” and features work from her bandmates, as well as Lizzo, Tegan Quin, Patty Schemel, Jane Weidlin, Liz Phair, Sadie Dupuis, Alice Glass, EMA, Julien Baker, Mish Way, Hayley Williams and more; it’s out the same day as the EP and all proceeds go to Planned Parenthood. Bleached will be touring to promote both throughout April, and hopefully this time around, Clavin will get to spend more time professing her love for Black Sabbath than railing against stereotypes.

Listen to “Can You Deal?” below and pre-order the LP here.

TRACK REVIEW: Modern Baseball “This Song is Gonna Buy Brendan Lukens a New Pair of Socks”

Modern Baseball’s latest track doesn’t offer the courtesy of an introduction or a closing instrumental, starting immediately with a subdued garage rock vibe that stays consistent until it ends just as abruptly as it begins. But with a healthy dose of lo-fi panache, “This Song is Gonna Buy Brendan Lukens a New Pair of Socks” addresses frontman Brendan Lukens’ struggles, both within the music industry and in his personal life as well.

The Philadelphia punk rockers strip down to basics – not just sonically, with driving riffs and keys reminiscent of church organs, but also in their modest request for something as simple as socks. The irony is that, in pursuit of his most essential needs, Lukens is willing to lay his frustrations with those around him completely bare. Socks can’t heal broken relationships, and from the level of discontent he’s espousing, it’s doubtful that such a simple comfort will be effective in providing him the same.

If that sounds a little gloomy, fear not – the song will rock your socks off! Find it on a split 7″ via Big Scary Monsters and Lame-O Records, alongside music from Thin Lips and The Superweaks. All three bands are touring together through Europe and the UK; you can listen to the single below.

TRACK REVIEW: Ty Segall “Break a Guitar”

Ty Segall’s “Break A Guitar” is a classic hair metal rock ‘n’ roll number straight out of the 80s, complete with screaming guitar solos and rocker attitude. The basics of the song itself aren’t very complex: it’s got repetitive guitar riffs peppered with an unwavering drumline, and carefree, self-assured vocals throughout. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to throw on and jam out to, particularly at top volume.

In fact, this single as a stand-alone is a bit refreshing—it demonstrates that his recently released second self-titled album is the exact type of raw, impassioned garage rock we’ve come to expect from Ty Segall. His previously released single, “Orange Color Queen,” seemed to be a deviation from that—a melodic and mildly unexpected love song, it hinted at the possibility of a new direction. But overall, this album—Segall’s ninth over the course of his prolific history—is as hard-hitting as past works. The inclusion of more honest, contemplative songs reflect a more refined work overall, while “Break A Guitar” represents that vintage Ty Segall sass.

He’ll be touring the U.S. this year with his full band, meaning there will be ample opportunities to experience the exuberance of his live shows. Get amped for destruction with “Break A Guitar” below:

TRACK REVIEW: Rosie Carney “Awake Me”

“My whole life just seemed like a cloud of fog,” Rosie Carney states frankly on her website, sharing explicit details about the pain she’s experienced: bullying, sexual assaults, an eating disorder, being dropped from a major label at the age of seventeen. Now twenty, it’s no wonder  Carney, who hails from Ireland, has such a haunting voice. But on her single “Awake Me,” lyrics like “I’ve been a fool for more than half of my life, I’ve tried to hide/ Awake me,” seem to show that she is confronting and overcoming her past. Not that she needs to claim any great sorrow to be taken seriously as a singer – she’s able to express multitudes even when her voice hovers close to a whisper, and create mountains of tension just by lingering on a pause. All that accompanies her voice are simple, repetitive guitar arpeggios, but as her voice ascends higher and higher in spirals toward the end of the song, it’s easy to imagine her leaving behind the fog, the bullies, the stigma of mental illness – everything.

Find some release and resolve in the gorgeous track below:

TRACK REVIEW: Shy Girls “Say You Will”

“Say You Will,” the latest track from Shy Girls, a.k.a. singer-songwriter Dan Vidmar, is melancholic and yearning, perfect for those rainy mid-winter days. The bare-bones production and uncomplicated synths leave plenty of room to showcase Vidmar’s impressive vocal range and smooth, R&B-tinged delivery. It’s the fourth single from stark and emotional debut Salt, released January 17 via Hit City Records. You can stream the single below via SoundCloud or check out Spotify for the full album.

TRACK OF THE WEEK: San Fermin, “Bride”

It’s a good day when you stumble upon new music from San Fermin, and this week they’ve delivered “Bride,” from their upcoming album, Belong. It’s a poignant snapshot of social anxiety—something so many of us have dealt with in some capacity—which made it a shoe-in for our Track of the Week.

Charlene Kaye performs in her usual intoxicating style, her rich vocals easy to bask in. Like many a San Fermin track, “Bride” is layered with orchestral flourishes—violin, guitar, drums, trumpet, and harp—all expertly played and working in lush accordance to deliver a story. And the story, says San Fermin’s producer, composer, and bandleader Ellis Ludwig-Leone, is based on a true one.

The title of Belong vaguely alludes to Ludwig-Leone’s struggles with anxiety and his childhood search to fit in. His musical endeavors have helped him build confidence, and after two gorgeous albums, he’s finally delving into more personal stories, particularly related to mental health. To compose this track (based on a wedding-induced panic attack), he wrote from the perspective of a flower-clad bride at the surreal moment of her wedding day. Her panicked dissociation is at odds with the stereotypical joy of marriage – but it wouldn’t be a San Fermin song without that otherworldly darkness cloaking the beautiful vocals and instrumentals.

It’s telling that Ludwig-Leone chose a bride to symbolize the pressures of social expectation. Every aspect of wedding planning comes down to making each moment of the “big day” perfect, and the harshest scrutiny is usually reserved for the woman at the altar. Long before a bride walks down the aisle, she drives herself to high levels of stress, searching out the perfect florist, the perfect band, the perfect venue. It brings to mind the negative images of Bridezilla—rarely do we hear stories of “The Groom From Hell”—but what happens when all that stress is turned inward? Perhaps a dissociative meltdown, like the one Kaye sings about?

Society puts a lot of pressure on us to be the perfect versions of ourselves at all times, stage-managing every single situation so that we come away with picture perfect memories to look back on. “Bride” is Ludwig-Leone’s nod to the irrationality of that notion, of how it only sets us up for continual breakdowns as we come crashing down from our adrenaline-laced, manic perfectionism. Once her wedding comes to fruition, when the bride is finally able to relax, slow down, and take everything in, she disconnects from the moment she’s been building herself up for all along. That’s anxiety in a nutshell – prolonged, continuous stress that stops you from really enjoying what you’ve stressed about cultivating in the first place.

“Bride” reminds us that we don’t have to be perfect, but it’s clear that San Fermin have achieved something close to that on Belong. The record comes out April 7; until then, listen to “Bride” below.

TRACK REVIEW: Grim Streaker “Guts”

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Grim Streaker photo by Isobel Shirley

Grim Streaker is a new project formed by members of Dinowalrus, The Teen Age, Belle Mare, and Hiccup. Last week they released their first single, “Guts,” produced and recorded by Mike Kutchman (Parquet Courts, WALL and Sharon Van Etten). 

Though they’ve just released one song so far, the noisy punk track contains the energy of several. “Guts” races full speed ahead, brakes screeching just enough to not fully careen out of control. Like their name, Grim Streaker’s first single gives young angst some levity by injecting a dose of dark humor, in verses that mirror each other perfectly. “Oh, I hate your mom/ I hate her good, she’s such a slut,” it begins, only later to declare, “Oh, I hate your dad/ I hate him bad.” Amelia Bushell voices her fiery scorn over frantic flashes of guitars and a heavy, determined beat. There’s something particularly pleasing, especially now, about looking around and not just declaring that everything sucks, but yelling it as loud as you can. For those without a stage, “Guts” is the perfect catharsis. 


TRACK REVIEW: Betty Who “Human Touch”

Betty Who’s latest single “Human Touch” is the pop dream we’ve been waiting to have.

It’s bubbly and upbeat, danceworthy and synthy—pretty much, it’s everything we’ve come to expect from Betty Who at this point. The Australian songstress’ voice is layered in a way that makes it sound both silky and husky simultaneously, dancing between the varying synths. It’s fun, sexy and exultant, and will have you grabbing your dancing shoes, anxious for the weekend.

TRACK REVIEW: Goodman “Hiccup”

With a very Beatles-esque vibe, Goodman is here to bring a bit of sunshine and chill to your dreary winter days with his latest single “Hiccup.”

Singer/songwriter Michael Goodman delivers us this feel-good track that walks the line between pop rock and surf rock, and it’s got us feeling all sorts of feels. Its repetitive beat, peppered with claps and hiccups, will have you grooving in your seat.

Keep an eye out for his full-length album The Vicissitudes, which is expected to drop in February on Invertebrate Records.

TRACK REVIEW: Smallpools “Run with the Bulls”


Need an energy boost? Smallpools has got you covered with their latest song.

Upbeat, fast-paced, and energetic to an almost manic point, “Run with the Bulls” will shake you up and course throughout you. Then suddenly, just as you’re getting really into it, it’ll end, leaving you grasping in the darkness for more. With synths that won’t quit, a solid guitar riff, and vocals that bounce up, down, and around, you’ll feel yourself spinning out into a Smallpools-induced musical vortex. Don’t worry, it’s as exciting and wild as it sounds.

TRACK PREMIERE: Citrus & Katie “Sludge”

citrus and katie

Citrus & Katie’s latest track “Sludge” embodies its title, dredging its way through your system and sitting contentedly in your ears. It’s parts garage rock, funk, soul, and pop, making for an upbeat fusion track that’ll leave you smiling. For the most part, “Sludge” is true to its name as a slow moving track, until the end when it really picks up pace, kicking up the rock ‘n’ roll vibes and ending on a fun note. Take a listen to it below! Their new album, NSTYLDY is out this month.

TRACK REVIEW: Zella Day “Man on the Moon”


Bypass your morning coffee! Starting out with a chorus-y bang and accompaniment of keys, Zella Day’s “Man on the Moon” is the type of track that’ll kickstart your day and give you that much-needed pep in your step.

“Man on the Moon” is an ethereal beauty, surreal and dream-like from start to finish. It holds an air of normalcy until every chorus breaks down into the otherworldly again–its ability to capture the transcendental aligns oh so perfectly with the title. Appropriately, each chorus also has vocals that sound like a martian’s.

Take a listen below to this entrancing number.

TRACK REVIEW: MisterWives “Same Drugs”


You know what life has been missing? A new MisterWives track! And although it’s not a new track per se, as it’s a Chance the Rapper cover, it’s still a worthwhile song to add to your weekly playlist (because everyone has one of those, right?).

In a lot of ways, this single is a deviation from the MisterWives we’ve come to know and love. “Same Drugs” holds elements of gospel music, complete with clapping and soft “ooh’s” in the background, and is overall more low-key and serious compared their usual bubbly, fun sound. Frontwoman Mandy Lee slays the track with her signature quirky vocals, yet this track has a more sobering effect. She handles it masterfully, hitting highs, lows, and everything in between while dodging playfully alongside keys and brass. It’s a great reminder that we all need a lot more MisterWives in our lives–and hopefully sooner rather than later.

TRACK REVIEW: Trails and Ways “Get Loud”


It’s been a minute since we’ve heard new releases from Trails and Ways, but after a four-year pause, it’s exciting to see a slew of fresh music from the band. One of which is the energetic power pop single “Get Loud.”

The track has an addictive beat and subdued yet captivating vocals that do a fantastic job of staying on top of the pace. Short, sweet, and relatively simple, “Get Loud” is just an overall fantastic feel-good song. It also somehow feels very early 2000s mainstream rock while maintaining an air of relevance that one-hit wonders of the late 90s would be enviable of.

Keep a tab on Trails and Ways to see what else they’ll be sending our way!

TRACK REVIEW: Frederick The Younger “Horoscope”


Opening with a crash of drums and bending guitars, “Horoscope” captures your attention instantly. Then Jenni Cochran starts to sing, and her powerful voice demands it: “Pack your bags, you’re leaving for a little while.”

“Horoscope” is the lead single from Frederick The Younger’s upcoming debut album, Human Child, and it’s an infectious throwback to sultry 60’s soul mixed with strong hints of psychedelic pop.

The song is propelled forward by an intense energy from every instrument. Starting with a note that “says you’re leaving for a little while,” it tells the tale of someone who was left behind, and the one who left them, switching scenes between the two effectively. As the song fades out, you can’t help but wonder, how does this story end?

Human Child was produced by Kevin Ratterman (of My Morning Jacket, Andrew Bird, Twin Limb, Houndmouth) and will be available 2/3. Listen to “Horoscope” below.

TRACK REVIEW: Memoryy “Read My Lips (King Deco Remix)”


Have you ever listened to a song that feels both fast and slow at the same time? Well, once you’ve listened to Memoryy’s “Read My Lips King Deco Remix” you can say you have.

Memoryy’s remix adds a sultry, sexy twang to King Deco’s original track, commanding your attention with spine-tingling synths and bass. The song carries you along a slow build up of snaps and airy vocals to end with a fiery synth explosion that’s endearingly cacophonic. It grows outward and upward, climbing like a vine along a wall, and before you know it, you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat sitting straight up, fully immersed in its beauty as it blooms before you.

Take a listen to the track below, and let it shape your week.



Get ready to dance off your extra Thanksgiving turkey weight to DRUZY’s latest track “How You Feel,” a vulnerable and raw pop track. Vocalist Brianna Conroy brings a real, sultry side to this track as Luc Alexiades crafts the music into an upbeat, addictive song. The Los Angeles-based duo is creating feel-good music that’ll get you up and moving while also digging into your more passionate side.

Listen below!

TRACK PREMIERE: The Hamiltons “Take the Hit”


An instant pop classic with an old-fashioned twinge, The Hamiltons’ latest single “Take the Hit” is a timeless piece that’ll have you swooning. It’s a unique genre-mashing track in that it’ll transport you from smack dab in the 60s to the mid-90s over the course of a few lulling notes and jazzy vocals.

Based in London after relocating from Sydney, this sibling duo not only performs their own music, but also produce and write it. And their investment in their music is apparent in “Take the Hit”–it’s dripping with passion and affection, carefully honed to present you with an entrancing final product. With influences in jazz, folk, country, and cajan, it’s no wonder their sound is so eclectic.



“Come Around” is a song that celebrates that rare friendship you consider yourself lucky to have, if you can find one like it at all; someone who’s always there for you, wherever they happen to actually be at the moment. That’s the situation the GEMOLOGY duo found themselves in when they composed “Come Around,” with singer/songwriter Joanie Wolkoff living in Brooklyn and producer/instrumentalist Natasha Chitayat in Los Angeles. They started the project after being stuck together in a recording studio during a rainstorm, and though there’s a whole continent between them now, they haven’t let that diminish their friendship or their sound. They describe their process as writing together “through the digital ether,” which is reflected in lines like “I get my heart worked up every time you dial.” 

Propelled by synths and layered in a shimmery haze, “Come Around” is a reassuring burst of warmth. The track opens with a chiming melody that settles into a steady beat for Wolkoff’s voice to float over and takes its time opening up, adding layers and themes before ending with a soft whisper. 

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Heat Thunder “Wind Whips the Veil”


Singer/songwriter Joe Montone, under the moniker Heat Thunder, is serving up tasty folk tracks, the latest of which comes in the form of “Wind Whips the Veil.”

An accompaniment of strings alongside acoustic guitar and Montone’s crooning vocals leads to a track you’ll want to either sway or cuddle to (or both). It’s passionate and fiery yet subdued and vulnerable, the perfect accompaniment to a chilly fall afternoon spent indoors sipping tea. Listening to “Wind Whips the Veil” brings you to a musical place that you might not have known existed before, a quality you can find in much of Montone’s music.

Heat Thunder recently opened for Anthony Green of Circa Survive on his Pixie Queen Tour and also released his latest EP, Phoenix. With so much going on lately, it seems that Heat Thunder might be a good artist to keep a tab on.

TRACK REVIEW: Capital Cities “Vowels”


It has been far, far too long since there’s been a new Capital Cities song to jam out to, but thankfully we don’t have to go by deprived any longer.

Their latest single “Vowels” is not one to disappoint. It holds true to what we’ve come to expect from Capital Cities already: plenty of synths, a beat worthy of boogieing down to, and some spine-tingling brass breakdowns. Let this new track be the jump-start to get your week started, the pick-me-up you need at the middle of the week, and the anthem to your weekend.