I’m wired at night [single reviews]
The Midnight – “Deep Blue”: Last summer I had something of a synthwave awakening when I found myself listening to a ton of The Midnight and discovering subreddits like “r/outrun,” “r/sizz” and “r/TheNightFeeling.” I’ve been intoxicated by this grouping of feelings, and I’ve been chasing them since then. The Midnight’s new single is all the wholesome elements of these feelings wrapped up into a song. From the down to earth vocals to the welcoming saxophone, and the nostalgic, swirling synths, I love everything about this track. It’s an antidote for these times of sitting up late at night wondering if I can be really optimistic about this year. Only a good God would allow a music genre inspired by neon and nostalgia to exist!
Gabrielle Solange – “Quarantine Anthem (Covid 19)”: This artist, who appeared on our 60 Ohio Artists to Watch list, expresses herself in many different ways. But she chose a global pandemic as an unlikely period to massively push her newest art to the world. Her “Quarantine Anthem” is about exactly what you think it is, and before you say “I don’t need another reminder of Coronavirus in my life,” I’ll nudge you to listen anyway. She even agrees with you in the chorus—”I’m so sick of this Corona.” The R&B ballad is equal parts serious and whimsical, intending to acknowledge the difficulty of these times while finding some lighthearted creativity to indulge in. The music video I feel articulates both of these points well.
PUBLIC – “Honey in the Summer”: Some might have the impression that this band is an overnight success after the runaway hit “Make You Mine” from last year. Let me assure you this is not the case. John Vaughn, Ben Lapps, and Matthew Alvarado have been playing earworm pop rock for nearly ten years at this point, and “Honey in the Summer” is the latest of a long string of upbeat tunes suitable for any summer playlist—even in the COVID era. Come on, man. You have to enjoy that falsetto. Look for more to come from the band via Island Records this year.
Lillian Frances – “Raincheck Summer”: The title of this track sounds like what most of this summer will look like for many. A bevy of traditions down the tubes. But, no need to wallow in despair. This Sylvan Esso-esque track is experimental in a very down to earth way. It has a very familiar feel, spun with some intricate programming and some warm vocals. The track has a feeling of messing around with beats in a bedroom studio, while a cloudburst on an otherwise sunny day drenches the house briefly. I look forward to diving deeper into what this whimsical pop artist has to offer.
Death Therapy – “Guardian Awakening”: Perpetually under the radar industrial metal trio Death Therapy have re-emerged with an expanded sonic catalog. Here, we have an experimental dubstep oriented track, which is accentuated with a gnarly solo, courtesy of Fit For a King’s Daniel Gailey. This song sounds like it was ripped straight off the sound track for The Matrix, or maybe Blade Runner. One Redditor on the r/dubstep subreddit called this track “very r/cyberpunk” and I have to concur. It’s dystopian and slick—but not too slick. Just the right mix of sheen and grit to add to my nighttime vibes playlist.
Jonah Yano – “delicate”: The music video for this song depicts a day spent with a lover, but not in a titallating way. The whole thing is rather mundane on paper, but there’s a degree of intimacy that shines through. I wasn’t sure if I liked the track or not at first, but something about it made me listen the whole way through even though I felt like I shouldn’t enjoy it (after all, when you receive hundreds of emails pitching tracks, its easy to be dismissive). I suppose this song lived up to its title; it’s delicate. But, it’s delicate in the same sort of way you might handle a piece of art—observation is encouraged, but only in the right way.
PLNT9 – “Sunsuit”: I’m loving this grunge meets heavy radio rock vibe. The guitar tones are giving me big Project 86 vibes, and the vocals remind me a bit of Breaking Benjamin. Similarly to Breaking Benjamin, my only true issue with this song is wishing the vocals were mixed a bit above the riffs, which really are the true star of the show here. At times I’m also reminded a bit of The Overseer, a defunct metalcore band I got to see open for Project 86 once. There’s some definite passion here, but I have to emphasize how fun the riffs are.