Last November the Atlanta (by-way-of-LA-by-way-of- Austin) band Mamalarky released their self-titled debut full length on the buzzing Brooklyn label Fire Talk. Today Mamalarky are returning with their first new music since their LP, a pair of singles entitled “Meadow” and “Moss” that are being released to mark the announce of the band’s first touring in support of their debut, a run of dates that includes shows with Slow Pulp as well as an East Coast headline and a New York showcase with their labelmates PACKS & Wombo.
Accompanied by a pair of videos directed by the band (who have worked on several of their own videos and recently began directing videos for other artists as well), the tracks both concern different experiences of nature and were appropriately, according to singer and guitarist Livvy Bennett, both written outdoors.
“Monotony is an illusion, or at least it’s a very tired way to look at things.” says Bennett. “Nature always has something new to offer when we slow down enough to absorb it – isolation made me appreciate and deepen this relationship significantly. I realized I’m never actually alone when I’m out under some trees. Moss offers more of a coming to terms that the surrounding landscape could be my anchor and company for the time whereas Meadow is a spark of excitement at finding a less traveled path on my daily route that opened out onto a beautiful stream with singing frogs. I wrote both these songs outdoors which I had never tried before. I still go to these spots often and they hold me up!”
Los Angeles-based, all-female punk band The Linda Lindas have released their highly anticipated new single “Oh!” “’Oh!’ is one of the first songs we collaborated on during the pandemic, masked and distanced on the front porch,” recalls the band. “It started with the main riff and progression Bela brought to the band. Eloise wrote the verses and Lucia and Mila wrote the choruses. The song deals with trying to help out someone and having it blow up in your face.”
Los Angeles based pop-quartet SZNS give a fresh new take on the classic 90’s girl group music we all know and love with blending elements EDM, Latin-synth, and House inspired beats. A perfect example of this sound can be heard on SZNS single “Build A Boy” written by SZNS along with Stefan Litrownik (One Direction, Boyz II Men) and Jason Hahs, with production by K-Kov & Stefan Lit. Each member Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn bring their own unique vocals and styles that blend together to create the vibrant SZNS sound.
When asked about their upcoming single “Build A Boy” SZNS’s said, “When we came together to write Build a Boy, the energy in the studio was a bit different from our usual confident selves. We were all feeling very vulnerable and even a little lonely. Each of us has experienced a relationship that wasn’t fulfilling us mentally, physically and/or spiritually. Build a Boy is our way of saying I deserve more than the bare minimum & I have to do what’s best for me. We realized some people are only in your life for a reason or a season and if you want the perfect partner, you have to find that within yourself first, because you can’t Build a Boy.” When speaking about their upcoming Time Square billboard SZNS, said, “We are so excited an honored to have a life size Billboard of our new single ,“Build A Boy” to celebrate its release! It feels like the start of something new for us. We can’t wait to see it in person!!”
MADDS is Madison Louch, a South African born, LA-based multi-hyphenate (DJ, producer, designer, model). MADDS has toured with Steve Aoki, Deorro, Borgore across the US and Europe. Just announced: Vegas Residency at Resorts World, Firefly Fest, Blended Austin, and tons of college shows. Her video “Never Forget” features Cindy Prado, Alexa Collins, Brianna Gonva, and Sabrina Calvo.
“Right in the beginning of the pandemic, I went back to my hometown in Connecticut for a while and started thinking about my favorite playground,” Lisa says. “I wanted to revisit that nostalgia through the triple lens of memories, looking back at the playground through three different perspectives: Childhood, thinking I was too big for the town as a teenager with my friends, and now in my 20s, looking back at myself at 18 and seeing that I was still just a baby.”
The song was a team effort. Lisa collaborated virtually with co-writers Meghan Williams and Cheska Zaide, then co-produced it along with Nashville producer Will McCoy. As an independent artist, Lisa brings her own standards into her process and the track radiates with youthful freedom yet mature composition.
“I think it will always be the case that the older I get, the more I will look back and think I was so young and had so much to learn,” Lisa says. “Life has so much room for growth over time.”
Soccer Mommy — a.k.a. Nashville native Sophie Allison – released her critically-acclaimed sophomore album color theory last year. Today she has announced her long delayed US headline tour in support of the record. Starting in September 2021 the tour stops at some of the biggest venues Allison has headlined to date, including New York’s Brooklyn Steel on September 21 and Los Angeles’ Fonda Theatre on October 28. With the exception of a few venue changes and new additions many of the shows were postponed from March 2020 and all previously purchased tickets will be honored. Squirrel Flower will provide support on the first leg and Emily Reo will support the second. Tickets go on sale Friday (4/30) at 12pm ET.
Following the release of color theory, Allison earned mass acclaim, with performances opening for Bernie Sanders, numerous upcoming headline dates sold-out months in advance, confirmed festival slots at the likes of Glastonbury, and her late-night debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! The album made it’s AAA Top 20 debut after release, was #1 NACC Top 200 for 4-weeks running, and debuted on the following Billboard charts: #1 Top New Artist Albums, #1 Alternative New Artist Albums, #4 Current Alternative Albums, #4 LP Vinyl Albums, #6 Current Rock Albums, #16
Top Current Albums and in the Billboard Top 200.
Additionally, with touring at a halt for the entire music industry, Soccer Mommy found remarkably inventive ways to stay busy during quarantine. She released a deluxe binder version of color theory which you can get HERE along with a demos EP of selected album tracks which you can listen to HERE. Last summer, raising money for National Bail Out & Oxfam’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, Allison released the Soccer Mommy & Friends Singles Series featuring Jay Som, Beabadoobee, SASAMI and MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden/Gentle Dom. She also joined forces with Actress & Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who remixed two color theory tracks. Listen to “crawling in my skin (Actress Remix)” HERE + “circle the drain (UMO Remix)” HERE. She shared an interview and performance via GRAMMY Museum® which can be seen HERE. Combining her love of video games and performing, Soccer Mommy held a digital concert on the online gaming platform Club Penguin Rewritten, with 10,000+ attendees (who all had to make their own penguin avatars to attend). So many fans logged on originally that the game’s server *literally* crashed and the event had to be rescheduled. Soccer Mommy also kicked off the NPR Tiny Desk At Home Series, performed on Pitchfork’s IG Live series, and released her very own Zoom backgrounds images. Soccer Mommy then embarked on another tour, of sorts: an 8-bit music video tour, hitting some of the cities she was meant to perform in on tour prior to lockdown.
Aly & AJ are releasing a new album on May 7 called a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun. They will be holding a virtual album release show at The Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. Produced by Yves Rothman and recorded with live instrumentation at the legendary Sunset Sound, the album finds its title taken from a lyric on the record that captures the essence of the 12-track collection — it swirls together sisterhood, solid songwriting, and the SoCal sun, creating an inspiring, invigorating experience that feels 70s-inspired yet undeniably cutting edge in the modern music landscape.
Today LA artist Wallice announces her debut EP Off the Rails due out later this summer. She has already released “23” & “Punching Bag.” Today her 3rd single “Hey Michael” comes out.
Wallice explains; “Hey Michael’ is a revenge anthem for anyone who has encountered a gaslighting, manipulative person. It’s what I wish I would have said to all the ‘Michael’s’ I have met in my life. It can be substituted by many names, we all know or have met a ‘Michael’ though. Somehow the world revolves around them and they just can’t catch a break, because they never do anything wrong and it’s usually your fault. You should have listened to your gut instinct and swiped left on this Michael. This isn’t a man-hating song, it’s just something many people can relate to. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to admit just how bad a friend, date, or romantic partner was and a lot of the time, I would just smile and laugh off stupid remarks but when I think back, I wish I had told them off. But at the same time, my persona in the song is not the best person either. I literally say “I think I want to start a fight, which one is your girlfriend?” The whole song is funny because I am so focused on how shitty Michael is that I don’t even think about how shitty I might be as well.”
Australian trio Middle Kids are back with the single “Questions.” It is the first single off their sophomore album Today We’re The Greatest due out March 19 on Domino. Middle Kids are Hannah Joy, Tim Fitz and Harry Day.
As Joy explains, “Questions” is about the fallacies of intimate relationships; “I used to drink a lot and most of my previous relationships revolved around this. I don’t think I ever really knew them or they me as a result. “Questions” is about people being around each other but not being close. People who are in intimate relationships can stop asking questions of each other because they are uncomfortable and confusing.”
Today We’re the Greatest was produced and recorded in Los Angeles with Lars Stalfors. About the new record, she said: “I want to make music that loves its listener. Music that makes people feel seen, seen in the tiny little places that hide away in their hearts. I want people to hear our music, and feel a sense of love. And when I say love, it can be challenging, intense and tough. But it’s in the guts.”
Miami native and Los Angeles based artist Anie Delgado takes a page from mythology in her video “Daydream.” The video, directed by Brandon Buczek, brings in Venus on a Clamshell visually.
“On ‘Daydream,’ I was thinking about my own daydreams and manifestations. Desire feels so intoxicating, I think it’s important to let yourself live with that and respect the power of how it feels to want something badly — that’s what inspired the song sonically. Coming out of that dizzying state confident, on steady ground is what I find even more interesting – that was the inspiration lyrically. Feel your desires, but don’t get lost in your daydreams.”
Laetitia Tamko and Courtney Barnett team up for a cover of Karen Dalton’s “Reason to Believe.”
“I recently discovered the Karen Dalton version of ‘Reason To Believe’ for the first time. I became obsessed and so a few days after discovering it, I was encouraged to record a cover of it in my garage,” said Vagabon’s Lætitia Tamko. “The decision to have Courtney sing it with me came after we performed it together live at the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles on Valentine’s Day 2020, a month before lockdown. It was fresh in our brains then so not long after the show, CB came over and we recorded her parts. Oliver Hill plays slide guitar on it.”
Courtney Barnett added “I’m a huge fan of Vagabon and Karen Dalton so this was a dream. They both have a voice that absolutely knocks the wind out of me. I really admire Laetitia and am constantly inspired by her songwriting, production, and our sporadic FaceTime chats.”
Tamko has been releasing alternate versions of songs from her self-titled album, and her song “Home Soon” was featured in the film Antebellum.
Alaska Reid is releasing her Big Bunny EP this Friday December 11 on Terrible Records. Reid is best known for her band Alyeska. This new project is a personal collection recalling her time growing up in Montana, and her partial move to LA. Reid worked with Max Hershenow & A.G. Cook on this single “Warm.”
Alaska explains: “‘Warm’ is a retrospective about playing shows and hanging around LA in my late teens / early twenties and feeling pretty lonely within it all. The song spans Montana and Los Angeles – A. G. Cook and I recreated that in the video, going between the two, shooting at the beach and then in my hometown between the Yellowstone River & the train tracks.”
Reid’s lyrics have a vulnerable emotional to them. She is a combination of Weyes Blood meets Fiona Apple.
Today Pale Waves announces their second album Who Am I? due out February 7, 2021. Pale Waves blew up with the release of My Mind Makes Noises in 2018. The album was recorded in Los Angeles by Rich Costey. Front woman Heather Baron-Gracie says on the making of the album, “for me, music and art is for people not to feel so alone and isolated. I want to be that person my fans look up to and find comfort in.”
“Why Do I Miss You When You Hate Me?” is one of many questions asked on Kat Hamilton’s Recovery Songs. Hamilton comes from a punk background in the band Manic Pixi. Hamilton is a singer-songwriter based in LA. She has a long history on the East Coast.
Recovery Songs is an unconventional album. It’s 9 songs are a challenge to artist and listener alike. The lyrics ask questions, personal and universal. The songs are danceable including “Ohio”
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Recovery Songs?
KH: This is my first full length solo album and it was a tough adjustment to be “the boss”. I spent five years in a band that functioned as a democracy. We had to agree on every choice. But this time, I had the final say in every aspect of the process. That isn’t my comfort zone at all. My team was looking to me to make choices and give them direction. It was baffling to have these artists that I respect, want me to tell them what to do. Sometimes I had to pinch myself, it was so surreal.
FEMMUSIC: What were your goals for Recovery Songs?
KH: To write the truth. For all musical arrangements or explorations in genre, to be an extension of the truth I had written. I wanted this album to feel like the truth and a guitar, even when we added all of the other elements.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Allee Futterer. She is producer both on Recovery Songs & The Grey Area, How did you meet? What does she bring to a project?
KH: Allee is my bestie! We met as roommates in a work abroad program in London. We played in a cover- band when we were abroad and then reformed that band in Boston when we got back. While I was living in New York and she was in LA, we stayed in touch and grew our friendship. Everything with us has always been about mutual admiration. When I showed her the songs for The Grey Area, she expressed that she had some production ideas and we went for it. When I felt like Recovery Songs was starting to take shape, I sent her some demos and asked her if she would want to produce it. I love how detail oriented she is. She creates little moments in the production that you wouldn’t expect.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Empty Room.” How did that song develop?
I wrote it while Manic Pixi was still together as a potential song for that group. It didn’t really fit in the album plans but I always felt a special attachment to the song. Empty Room was a sigh of sad relief during a time in which I felt like there was pressure on me to be positive all of the time. There was this dark, vacuous part of myself that I was hiding away. I just kept getting more depressed and more anxious behind the curtain. “Empty Room” was born out of that experience
FEMMUSIC: Recovery Songs is filled with a number of questions – “Where do you run to?”, “Did your heart stop working”, etc… How did the questions and answers develop and change while writing and producing the album?
KH: I’m glad you noticed that! Ultimately as a writer, I like to constantly question my own opinions and judgements. A song where I’m telling someone who broke my heart that they’re an asswhole, isn’t as interesting to me as a song where I question my own role as a reliable narrator. Were they as horrible as I am depicting them or am I just feeling not enough…etc.. In Recovery Songs and my questions don’t get answered. My goal in making the record was to tell the truth as I saw it, and in life, we don’t always get the answers we seek. As far as how it influenced the music, none of the songs have a lot of resolution. There are abrupt endings or endings where the music doesn’t return to the 1 chord of the key. I want the listener to feel heard and seen, but I don’t know if I want them to feel fulfilled.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
KH: Recovery Songs was an approach I hadn’t done before. I kept a mic and basic demoing setup next to my bed and every morning I woke up and just started recording ideas. These songs needed to come out of me and all I did was give them the space to do so. Normally in my songwriting approach, I will have a melody, or a lyric, and I will let it bloom and take shape over a series of weeks while I’m off living life. I’ll record a chorus idea into my voice memos and then add a verse and a bridge a month later. But with this album, I was writing every day. Since the making of this album, my process has shifted to an “off the cuff” approach. I’ll make a whole song in five minutes, get a snack and then figure out what worked.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
KH: Death Cab for Cutie “Transatlanticism”. Everytime I listen to it, I notice something new. That’s what I want my music to do. Ben Gibberd does such a great job of telling the story using all elements of the song, not just the lyric. I keep finding myself returning to that song for guidance and inspiration.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
KH: When I was in the DIY punk/rock scene, I just couldn’t be taken seriously. The gatekeepers were men who wanted to sleep with me, but didn’t want to sign me to their label, or invest in my bands music. It felt a lot like shopping for a used car. No matter how learned I was, the man selling me the car only saw one thing. In the years since, my experience as a woman in my field is much more nuanced. I don’t work with many cis men, but I also have that option because I’m no longer in the east-coast DIY scene. I have a more diverse pool of collaborators and industry professionals now. I wouldn’t say I was able to overcome it, as much as I was able to find my own scene in Los Angeles where I get to surround myself with inclusivity and respect.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
KH: I want to write a song with Carly Rae Jepson. I think we would have a lovely time. I have always looked up to Against Me! and it would be a dream come true to tour with them, someday when tours are a thing again. I would also love to sing with Miguel. His voice transcends logic, TBH
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
KH: I have a long list! Since I touched upon inclusivity already, I would really like the value of an artist’s work to not be determined by their Spotify streams or instagram followers. I don’t just mean monetarily. I mean their cultural relevance. I have friends who write incredible albums but they aren’t given the same opportunities because they aren’t verified. I’d really like to see this aspect of the industry change.
Subhi is an artist who mixes Hindi folk and American pop into something wonderful. She is getting to release an EP. Today she releases the single “In My Way.”
“I wrote and recorded this song in one single session with my producer in LA. It was magical. When I finished the song, I did not fully understand why this song came to me so fast. It took me a couple of months to fully acknowledge what my subconscious knew all along – sometimes, you need to get out of your own way to see the path ahead of you.”
On her life and music Subhi says
“I moved to the States when I was 16 years old. It took me many years to accept my new home. Being an Indian American, I often wondered where I belong.
When I graduated from college, typical of the Indian community, I pursued a financially secure career. I worked on Wall Street with a top-tier investment bank, but I was not happy somewhere deep inside. It wasn’t until a music internship with the Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mira Nair that I realized I wanted to create music full-time. It took me three careers to accept that I wanted to be a singer/songwriter. Once I discovered my true passion, there was no going back.
For a long time, I struggled with my multi-cultural identity. Being an Indian American artist, I have lived my life in two worlds. It’s like I have two identities: the Bollywood loving Indian and the Chicago based pop-loving American. I felt I needed to pick one language for my music. It took me years to accept that I don’t have to choose, and I don’t have to ask anyone. I needed to be vulnerable to be comfortable. Finally, I have found the balance and my sound.”
You may have heard Nadia Vaeh’s “Anxiety” and now you get to see it.
“Anxiety is a fabric of my life, as it is for so many others. This world breeds anxiety as if it were positive for us. Sometimes I am able to channel my anxieties in a positive way; other times, it can disable my ability to function. It just depends on the day… sometimes the hour,” explains Vaeh. “I am just glad society is arriving at a place where we can keep the topic of mental health a bit more open. The more we embrace the light and dark sides of the human experience, the easier it is to recognize and enjoy the goodness.”
Vaeh is donating a portion of the proceeds to MusiCares, a non-profit organization incorporated into the GRAMMY (NARAS) organization which has provided over $60 million in health, financial and rehabilitation resources to music people in times of need. Vaeh says, “I want to help my music family. My peers need help more than ever with the state of the world. The entertainment industry is so high pressure, and this organization helps artists navigate the mental health issues that can arise or become exacerbated from these pressures.”
Vaeh is a Los Angeles based pop artist who has been releasing a number of singles including “Naked”, “Rise”, “Boomerang” and others. She has been an activist and donated proceeds from other projects to: Girls Up, Human Rights Campaign, Alliance of Hope and Peace Over Violence.
“The inspiration behind this song was no matter how you sin, you can still be close to God,” says Bia. “Durk was the perfect fit for this song because he’s authentic and he brought the energy to match mine.”
Rituals of Mine is releasing Hype Nostalgia on Friday September 25. Rituals of Mine is the project of Terra Lopez. She has just released the single “Trauma.”
“While writing HYPE NOSTALGIA I was really working through the concept of intergenerational trauma and realized that I’ve been carrying my parents’ individual traumas my entire life,” says Lopez. “To realize that you’ve been living with someone else’s pain for so long was a very emotional headspace to be in and I was determined to start the process of shedding that mental weight so that I could break the cycle of abuse, violence, and suffering that I was born into. The line ‘trauma could never figure me out’ is an ode to myself and to the fact that despite the circumstances around me, I didn’t succumb to it. I persevered, I continue to persevere. This song is for anyone that might resonate with fighting every single day to break the cycle. If you know, you know.”
Lopez further explains the video, “To be able to take heavy subject matter and create something with your friends was very healing and cathartic. Vanessa Rees took the amazing photos that you see throughout the video to help give it some texture and I just love the contrast and the urgency that the photographs bring. It reminds me of a forensic investigation, which is sometimes how exploring your own trauma can feel like.”