Justin Stone – “Slow Down”: “Welcome to the fast life” Justin Stone muses, perhaps to himself, perhaps to the listener. Maybe it’s both. The rapper just landed a spot supporting I Prevail on tour, so it will be interesting to see how pensive tracks like this one resonate with the dedicated hard rock fans of that band. This is neither chill nor a certified banger—it seems to be Justin coming to terms with his growing fame on a national level.
Lydia Ainsworth – “Tell Me I Exist”: It takes a special kind of pop artist to properly warm up the stage for a duo like Purity Ring, like I saw a few years ago. The song is at once abstract and organic, choosing lyrics that are cerebral to ponder the protagonist’s existence. This is the sort of song that a philosophy major would love. When your brain hurts from deep discussion, a song like this acts like a sort of therapy—keeping your mind on track but allowing you space to get refreshed.
The Head and the Heart – “Missed Connection”: For a second I thought I was listening to a commercial from my youth with those “Na na na’s” early on. Soft synthesizer forms a dreamy bed upon which the organic rest of the song lays. You could argue that about many Head and the Heart songs, but the reassuring vibe here places extra emphasis on that thought for me. I could just as easily see this song fitting on a playlist with Young the Giant as old Mumford and Sons.
Luke Reynolds – “Moon House”: I stumbled upon this track through an acquaintance, Dan Medley of the band Those Manic Seas. This track sounds like a mesh of Tycho and Lindsey Stirling—with more dreamy vibes and less electronic breakdowns. Sometimes when someone tells you to listen to a track on Facebook, you take heed. That’s what I did here. For whatever reason I’m a little wound up today, so these 3 minutes were a nice reprieve from that.
Zaena x Jason Maek – “Being Me”: This vibey, dark hip hop song places an emphasis on being real. The hook is repetitive yet haunting. The footage for the accompanying visual was an impromptu session that happened relatively recently—after the conclusion of the 2019 Grammys. The song communicates the struggle of being in a downward spiral; alcohol abuse is hinted at in the video, but it’s malleable to fit the narrative of whoever is listening. It paints a stark picture of the reality of being caught in a mental feedback loop, which often happens to someone struggling with their mental health.
LAMB – “Moonshine (feat. Cian Finn)”: When I see the last name “Finn” I think of the land down under and the Finn Brothers (thanks, Aunt Tracy), but geographically we find ourselves in the other side of the world in this song. Specifically, we’re in the land of the Celts. Now, this isn’t what you’re thinking. This is much closer to Sylvan Esso than Gaelic Storm. Of all the things I listened to this evening from press releases, this is one that really made me sit up and take notice. I’d love to showcase this ethereal groove over a hybrid electro-hiphop beat at a future Steadfast Festival.