Distractions from the Winter Blahs [Single Reviews]

By Ryan G

VEAUX – “Moonlight Sugar”: Tuned Up favorites VEAUX are back with this track, cowritten by Jeremy Spring (Abandon Kansas, CRUSOE, Glass Age). Aaron Wagner puts forth a falsetto I haven’t heard from him too much before, and nails a hook that has the potential to become iconic for the group. VEAUX continue to evolve as an indie pop act that is entirely their own lane. “Moonlight Sugar” is sweet, but not overly so. It’s a pleasant addition to an already strong catalog that is sure to be a live favorite.

HALLIE – “Fangs”: It seems fitting that I’m wrapping up this article while watching the Super Bowl and I took a break form the onscreen action to listen to this track. It’s sports/movie trailer music at its darkest and finest. Many artists try to go the dark pop route and few pull it off well. Per HALLIE, “Fangs” “is an empowering, dark pop anthem that brings light to each of our own personal struggles and the battle we have internally about letting the dark parts of ourselves take over, or rising above them. My goal is to always leave listeners feeling empowered and hyped up.” You would never guess that this was a basement produced song. Then again, perhaps we need to adjust our expectations for what at-home production can be – Billie Eilish paved the way there.

bennytheghost – “Say Something”: LA continues to be a hotbed for imaginative pop adjacent releases – one which belongs to bennytheghost, who puts out music said to be inspired by both Still Woozy and The Strokes. For me, artists like Bear Hands and Glass Animals come to mind, mixed some with top 40 pop sensibility. This song bounces along, with an intricately layered production. This song was a fitting antidote for my winter fatigue and work stress catching up to me.

South of Eden – “Lone Riders”: What else is there to say about this band, other than they make really fun rock and roll and that that I think their label massively messed up in not giving them a higher priority? I’m sure there’s a lot more that went on behind the scenes than I’m aware of with that last assumption, but South of Eden are here to carry the rock revival into amphitheaters if I have things my way. South of Eden and AEIR are a formidable duo set to shake up the industry this year. The band takes a different point of view than I do a little bit, saying “We aren’t looking to bring anything back, but instead to remind people what rock n roll means. No rules. This music represents what we believe is real, raw music.”

Jay Joseph – “MAYBE”: I have to say I am IN LOVE with the mysterious vibe here. Recently I watched a show on Netflix called Archive 81 (there are some dark spiritual undertones there so please use discretion on that) but there are parallels between what I heard in this song, saw in this video, and felt after watching that show. Good vs evil, supernatural vibes, and ambiguity as to where the spiritual, dystopia, and inner battles begin and end. Isn’t it all tied together? I would love to hear Jay explore this lane further. Twenty One Pilots once dubbed their sound “schizoid pop” but this song truly encapsulates the unsettling attributes of that moniker.

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