Tunes for mid-summer Tax Day [single reviews]
Don’t read too far into the title—here are a mix of songs to distract you from the fact that you procrastinated doing your taxes even though you had 3 extra months. And check out all of the below and more on our handy-dandy playlist at the end of the article!
Spirit of the Bear – “Summer Snow”: When I sit down to react to songs, they often inadvertently take on the character of other art I’ve taken in along with general life circumstances. This year in general has been surreal, and as I type this I just finished an episode of Black Mirror. Markedly in juxtaposition to the cheery, dancey disco vibes of this track, which just might the most slick thing I’ve ever hear from Spirit of the Bear. However, there are some crossover moments between my lingering mood and this song. While this song exists to bring me down to earth and balance me out, the ethereal moments within the song acknowledge those places in my mind I need to be jolted out of sometimes—even if there’s beauty in what’s unsettling. If you’re not weird like me, you’ll probably just find this track to be a really fun listen.
Kaki – “Nice Guy”: There’s a whole lot of dark and alternative and sensual pop going around. But you know what the scene is lacking? Wholesome pop. That’s what Kaki brings to the table. “Nice Guy” is a song that lyrically indicates some sass but delivers in a way that is just, well, nice. Kaki has a down-to-earth demeanor that will emerge in whatever she releases. Frankly, this is refreshing. I could see the teeny-boppers getting down with a song like this—heaven knows they need a break from the angst.
Liberty Deep Down – “Get Mo”: It feels strangely poetic to be responding to this track the week I’m doing my taxes. The government is saying to me “gotta get mo’!” just like this track is. In all seriousness this pop rock group that made our bands to watch list this year for Ohio is dishing out the angst and attitude with an atmospheric chorus and enough smooth vocals and harmonies to keep the loyal fans happy. The rock edge will no doubt expand this band’s reach.
Plaid Brixx – “Live For Today”: Plaid Brixx, the project of Chris Duggan, has a sound that reflects Duggan’s gregarious personality. He’s eager to learn and support others but knows his limits and uses them to his advantage. “Live For Today” is an indie pop power ballad with a familiar message that we all need to be reminded of—especially in 2020. His vocals are strong but sometimes get buried in the swells, suggesting that the melodies are meant to sweep the listener up in an encouraging way.
Dae Marie – “Crash (ft. Sansol the Artist)”: I discovered this artist shortly after I posted this year’s Nashville artists to watch list, and it began to spread like wildfire around Instagram. So, naturally, when a new artist supports you, you check them out. “Crash” is my introduction to Dae Marie, and what a coincidence that the featured artist is Sansol the Artist, someone that Tuned Up has a lot of history with! This anthemic track echoes my “wholesome pop” sentiments expressed earlier, but this track has a whole lot of passion and rawness as well. The vocoder effect in the outro of the track is a nice touch! I also enjoy the choir-like effects on the harmonies. There’s a touch of classical appeal in Dae Marie’s voice mixed with a child-like quality.
Sargasso – “Baianas”: This indie group is based in New Haven, CT and has members hailing from Brooklyn, Philly and Rio De Janeiro. The Portuguese -language song stood out to me for the eclectic quality it would add to this list of poppy tracks as well as its overall cheery demeanor. It’s just a pleasant listen—nothing more, nothing less. I wish I spoke the language; my Spanish knowledge helps me somewhat, but instead of butchering the meaning of the song I’ll say that the band is taking donations on their bandcamp on a pay-what-you-want basis. 100% of proceeds go to New Haven Area Mutual Aid Fund, started by Semilla Collective. (www.gofundme.com/f/new-haven-area-mutual-aid-fund)