Moar Quarantunes to make you roar [single reviews]
Jared Marc – “ARE YOU READY?”: The songwriter best known for his stints fronting Graceful Closure and playing keys for Austin French on Winter Jam has pivoted his solo moniker into a brand pumping out pop anthem after anthem. The latest is a stadium ready banger, which is a little ironic considering how long it will probably be before we’re all allowed in stadiums again. Jared has mentioned repeatedly in the past few weeks that this is the most excited he’s ever been about a song he wrote—and you can hear why. He’s not going to let the pandemic slow him down. Jared’s voice is a little different for alt-pop—which adds to his allure.
Lightworker – “Empyre”: I’ll start with a lyric from this song—the new Solid State Records group yells into the void, “I left my soul to the world / where they bleed it dry of desire.” This line resonated with me; in this period of isolation, I’m painfully aware that anything I chase of the world will leave me empty and unfulfilled. A cliche realization? Yeah, but sometimes things are cliche for a reason. Melancholy bemusing aside, this metalcore track is really adrenaline inducing and had me banging my fist on my desk as things really started to kick in. Songs like this have a way of taking angst and transforming it into positive energy—at least for me. I love it.
Shape of the Sun – “Everybody Runs”: “It doesn’t matter where you’re from, because everybody runs.” The project of Nate Linek has released its most infectious song to date, taking existentialism and making this sort of pondering sound really upbeat. The line “it doesn’t matter what you do, it always comes for you” might be brushed off by some as cliche, but the production and method of expression here rids my mind of that notion pretty quickly—the abrasive transition at the end of that line is startling and a suitable transition into the rest of the track.
Notelle – “Alive”: This song feels oddly suited for the time period we’re living in. It’s a dark, industrial anthem for the underdog. Right now, we all kind of feel like underdogs. But Notelle is here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and she’s all out of bubblegum. No bubblegum pop here. All attitude and gnarly production. Notelle takes cues from both Nine Inch Nails and Lorde here, and I have half a mind to send this track to a friend of mine that makes experimental industrial music. Notelle, would you be down to collaborate with Wandering Stars? Sorry not sorry for putting both of you on the spot. For real though—the last minute of the song might be my favorite part.
ARA – “High”: If the above tracks were a little too aggressive for you, try this. ARA’s “High” is a simple track with a simple chorus—often the best kind for getting stuck in your head. It’s the sort of track that, as straightforward as it is, still kind of snuck up on me. I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first, but by the second chorus I decided I could back it. The San Francisco–based songstress communicates a tone that is assertively sensual. I’m a tad creeped out by her image, not gonna lie. I actually looked up her social media after listening to the song a few times, and I was surprised by how jarred I was—yet it’s oddly fitting.
Zoo Trippin’ – “Aldo Raine”: If, after running the gamut of the tracks above, you’re searching for a blues rock meets Americana track to bring you back down to earth, you’ll probably appreciate the latest “wave your hands in the air like you don’t care” jam from Columbus’ party band. If that last sentence felt a little run on, that’s okay—Zoo Trippin demands many words for a big sound. “Aldo Raine” is the latest in Zoo Trippin’s single series that began with “Come Correct” and “Judge and Jury.” This song proves that ZT continues to be versatile and worthy of most crowd settings.
GhostE – “Brick by Brick”: This dark pop track hits a bit softer than most artists that come to mind when I hear that descriptor. GhostE is a NYC songwriting veteran that has been compared to Annie Lennox and Everything But the Girl. “Brick by Brick” is a piano driven track that, in spite of having airy vocals and production, carries a certain weightiness to it. If you’re been following us for awhile, you know that Fleurie is a favorite of ours—GhostE’s vocals have an uncanny resemblance to Lauren Strahm’s, but she adds her own dash of moodiness and attitude to make this track alluring.